We are sad to report Folkmoot pioneer Flora MacDonald Gammon has passed, leaving behind a lifetime of contribution not only to Folkmoot but to the enduring preservation of Scottish culture in North Carolina and around the globe.
As a practicing nurse with Folkmoot founder and Waynesville surgeon, Dr. Clinton Border, in the early 1970s, Gammon was instrumental in the formation of our organization, now in its fourth decade.
She remained to her death one of Folkmoot’s most beloved, influential and supportive volunteers. She will be missed beyond measure by Folkmoot and all of North Carolina.
Among her many contributions to Folkmoot was her authorship and annual rendition of, “The Folkmoot Hymn,” which she performed as part of the festival’s closing ceremonies.
A native of Eastern North Carolina, Gammon was reared in a family still very close to its roots: the strong Highland Scots heritage of her mother’s family in the eastern Carolinas and the equally strong Scots-Irish line of her father’s family in the mountains of Tennessee and Virginia. Gammon moved to Western North Carolina in 1970 after receiving her BSN from East Carolina University.
She was, for many years, director of music at the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, and regarded by many as a leading authority on Scottish dance, music and heritage in North Carolina – a region which boasts a long and deep connection to Scotland.
She began performing at the Highland Games in her teems and devoted many years to promoting the traditions of Scotland and the Scots through concert performances at festivals and games, lectures, Road Scholar (Elderhostel) classes and residencies in schools.
Gammon was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, FSA Scot, and was an Honorary Member of Celtic Women International. She was accorded the honor of the Exceptional Celtic Woman Award at the Conference of Celtic Women in 2008. Both Gammon and her late husband, John A. Dall, were recipients in 2010 of the Agnes MacRae Morton Award from the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for their service to the games.
She began her service to Folkmoot as Chair of the Interfaith Worship Service, then Chair of Programming and Production, emcee and Director of the International Band. She also served on the Board of Directors for many years. Deemed a “Cultural Missionary” by Dr. Richard Blaustein of East Tennessee State University in his book, The Thistle And The Brier, Gammon continued to her passing as a bridge between the cultures of Scotland and Appalachia.
In this video, Gammon explains her family’s history and her pride in her Scottish heritage: