Story By Billy Jason Frye

Photography By Ronnie Holden

Sunset Beach’s Dinah Gore is one happy woman. She’s got a happy heart after celebrating 50 years of marriage to her husband, Ed Gore. She’s got a happy spirit after seeing her (and her husband’s) donations help build the Dinah E. Gore Fitness and Aquatics Center at Brunswick Community College (BCC). And she’s got happy feet after winning her second consecutive Dancing with the Brunswick Stars competition and helping raise money for the BCC Foundation in the process.

A lifetime of philanthropy and community-minded charity work has left an indelible smile etched on Gore’s face.

“I’ve always been a giver and a helper,” Dinah says. “In fact, helping is how I met my husband, Ed.”

Dinah was living in Kinston, N.C., at the time, working as a banker and living above her landlords’ photo studio. On weekends, she and her roommate would visit Topsail Island with their landlords. That’s where she met Ed.

“The very first time I saw him, I had to help the poor man,” she says with a chuckle. “He was hopping around in the dunes, trying to get a sandspur as big as a blackberry out of his foot. His girlfriend was there, but I didn’t know that at the time. She was just standing there watching, didn’t lift a finger to help. I marched right over and pulled out that sandspur. I guess I made quite an impression.”

The next week a newly single Ed showed up at the bank to ask her out.

“We went on a date and the rest is history,” Dinah says.

At the time she didn’t know what kind of history they’d be writing together or what kind of legacy they’d leave in their wake.

“Dinah’s a wonderful woman,” says Mike Capaccio, Director of Development at BrunswickCommunity College. “The generosity she and her husband have shown is tremendous. Their giving has had quite an impact on the students, faculty and facilities here.”

The newest facility on the Brunswick Community College campus is the 55,000-square-foot Dinah E. Gore Fitness and Aquatics Center, featuring a pool, a fitness center, an aerobics studio, a gym and an elevated running/walking track. The 9,000-square-foot gymnasium has three NCAA–regulation basketball and volleyball courts, seats more than 1,500 spectators and is the new home arena for BCC’s sports teams, the Dolphins. The swimming pool there is the county’s first publicly owned swimming pool. This community-oriented facility offers memberships to anyone in the region, regardless of their status as a BCC student. All this is in large part due to the generosity of Dinah Gore.

“She saw a need and she met it,” says Capaccio of Dinah’s generous gift. “The fitness center is already an asset to the student body and the Brunswick County community.”

The donations to build the fitness center are only part of the Gores’ giving to BCC. Through her participation in Dancing with the Brunswick Stars, Dinah and her fellow dancers have raised more than $500,000 for the Brunswick Community College Foundation over the last two years. By serving her community in such a strong way, it’s no wonder people find her to be an inspiration.

“Dinah wants to serve her community, and by doing that she becomes a role model,” Capaccio says. “She genuinely wants to help these students gain the knowledge and abilities that will enable them to achieve the same level of success she has found.”

The Gores have found a great deal of success in Brunswick County over the last 50 years. Rising from humble farming families, both Dinah and Ed have worked hard and smart to attain what they have now. After a stint in the military that took him to the Soviet Union and Japan, Ed rejoined his family and began working for his father, Mannon Gore, at Sunset Beach and Twin Lakes, Inc. Together they developed Sunset Beach, molding it into what it is today. In 1959 he married Dinah and she jumped into the Gore family business with both feet.

Subsequently, Ed and Dinah purchased the company from Ed’s father, dove into their philanthropic work, helped found the Sea Trail resort and Ocean Ridge Plantation, and continued to develop Sunset Beach.

“We still sell oceanfront lots, but we sold out of the thousand-dollar lots a long time ago,” Dinah jokes. “Ed and I were fortunate that his father had the foresight and mettle to take the chance and leave his farm for a real estate office. We worked hard at our businesses for years and years and now we have time to give back.”

As the new fitness and aquatics center at BCC shows, the Gores put their money and time where their mouths are.

They gifted two Sunset Beach lots to N.C. State University a few of years back, and the proceeds from selling the lots funded scholarships, endowments and 4-H programs at N.C.State. Their donations to the General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Scholarship help spread a philanthropic seed worldwide.

Campbell University, where Ed began his college career, has been the recipient of gifts from the Gores for many years. The football field is named for Ed; the arena in the new convocation center is named for their late son, Gilbert Craig Gore; the Gore Center for Servant Leadership prepares Campbell students

Dinah’s twice-weekly, hour-long ballroom dance lessons have paid off at the Dancing with the Brunswick Stars event the last two years. She’s won. Twice. The proceeds from the event go to the Brunswick Community College Foundation to provide scholarships and funding to the students of BCC, making the event a worthy and fun cause.

“I love to dance, I always have,” Dinah says. “When I was a little girl, I’d see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance across a room and I wanted to be able to do that.” Dinah and Ed danced in the first Dancing with the Brunswick Stars event and enjoyed themselves tremendously.

“Dancing feels like you’re floating, even more so when you know people are watching,” Dinah says. “That feeling is multiplied when you know you’re helping someone out by doing something so fun.”

Dinah has no plans of slowing down. She dances twice a week, in part for the fun and fitness aspect and in part to prepare for the next Dancing fund-raiser. She and Ed continue to operate their businesses, and their work with area boards and foundations keeps them busy. And they’re always looking for a way to help better the county and state they love.