Ida Friday dies at 97

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the day Ida Friday died and the full name of the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. Friday died on Monday. The story has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Ida Friday, an advocate for women’s rights, social justice, and public health and the wife of former UNC-system President Bill Friday, died on Monday. She was 97. 

Friday, a well-known Chapel Hill resident and community leader, grew up in Lumberton, N.C., attended Meredith College and earned her master’s degree from UNC’s School of Public Health in 1948.

In 1953, Friday was a co-founder of the Community Church, which welcomed people of all racial backgrounds. She was also involved with the Chapel Hill Women’s Center and Preservation Society.

She was married to Bill Friday for 70 years, including the duration of his 30-year presidency over the UNC system. During that tenure, the UNC system expanded from three campuses to 16; he is known as the father of the modern-day UNC system. The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education is named for the couple.

“Living with Ida is an adventure,” he told the News & Observer in 1979. “It’s something different all the time. She’s a source of constant strength and encouragement. We really work as a partnership.”

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