Charlotte philanthropist Sarah Belk Gambrell dies at 102

Charlotte philanthropist Sarah Belk Gambrell dies at 102
Sarah Belk Gambrell, daughter of Belk group of stores founder W. H. Belk Sr., has died. (Courtesy The Gambrell Foundation)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Well-known Charlotte philanthropist, Sarah Belk Gambrell has died. Gambrell, daughter of W. H. Belk Sr., founder of the Belk retail chain, was 102.

A Charlotte native, Gambrell held several positions at Belk during her lifelong career, including serving on the board of directors and leading the stores’ buying efforts in New York City.

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She was also active in arts and community organizations, serving on the boards of the YWCA of Central Carolinas, Dress for Success, The Charlotte Museum of History and Historic Rosedale Plantation among many others.

In addition, Gambrell served as trustee of Queens University in Charlotte where the Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for Arts and Civic Engagement is named in her honor.

Gambrell and her husband, the late Charles G. Gambrell, also established the Charles and Sarah Belk Gambrell Scholarship for deserving students at Furman University.

She was also president emeritus of the Gambrell Foundation, which was created in 1988 and supports a range of important causes such as education and at risk youth.

Belk released the following statement on Gambrell’s passing:

“Sarah Belk Gambrell spent her career at Belk as an innovator, change-maker and visionary, helping to shape Belk into a beloved and trusted destination for fashion. She boldly paved the way for countless female leaders who followed in her footsteps. Mrs. Gambrell is woven into the fabric of Belk and we are proud to honor her memory.”

Gambrell leaves behind her daughter Sally, and four grandsons, twins Charles and Cooper, and Christopher and Caleb.

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