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Plans Made for Sanford Funeral

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Terry Sanford left two projects unfinished: a novel he was writing, and his beloved proposed Performing Arts Institute. (WRAL-TV5 News)
DURHAM — Terry Sanford changed North Carolina during his 80 years on earth, but one of his greatest legacies, probably won't become reality until years after his death. The North Carolina Performing Arts Institute, which Sanford planned as a cornerstone of N.C. culture, doesn't even have a design yet.

Sanford actually left behind two pieces of unfinshed business. One was the novel he was writing.The other, the proposed arts institute, was his real passion, and he spent much of his last years promoting it.

He asked actor Tony Randall to bring his acting company to the new facility, and Sanford's friends say the senator's support should draw the support of others.

Mary Semans spent as much time as anyone at Sanford's side, working on the idea of the arts institute. She says the completion of his pet project would honor him in a living way. Many hope the statesman's dream does become part of North Carolina's future.

At least four sites in the Research Triangle Park area are under consideration for the institute.

Meanwhile, N.C. Senator paid tribute to his former colleague in the nation's capital Monday. Jesse Helms said he and Sanford often disagreed on the issues, but not on their overall goals.

A congressional delegation is expected to attend the former senator's funeral on Wednesday.

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