Lawrence H. "Sonny" Oliver Sr., 81, of Lumberton, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill.
He was born to the late Garvin Brooks "Bud" Oliver and Gladys Marie Britt Oliver on Oct. 19, 1931, in Robeson County.
He attended school at Long Branch Elementary School, Orrum High School and Lumberton High School. He later attended college at Pembroke State University.
Sonny was a U.S. Army veteran, who served our country during the Korean War and was in the 101st Airborne Division. He was stationed at Fort Campbell in 1955.
He worked at Jon-San Chevrolet from 1960 to 1981 and was the leading salesman for General Motors for 15 years straight. He was inducted as a member of the "Hall of Fame" in the Honor Members Club. In 1976, Sonny sold 2,769 new and used vehicles, setting a world record that has not been broken by an individual salesman.
Selling Chevrolets was not his only dream in life. In 1978, the first "Sun-Do" convenient store was opened on Highway 72 in Lumberton. In 1979, he opened up his own oil company called Oliver's Oil Co. Over time, the oil company expanded across North Carolina and South Carolina with 15 company-owned stores today. Oliver Oil Co. has been proudly mentioned as one of the top 100 privately owned small businesses in North Carolina.
Sonny served several years as the training union director, taught Adult Sunday school classes and sang in the choir at Long Branch Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, G.A. Oliver and Jimmy Oliver, and sisters, Edna Oliver Eberley and Marie Oliver.
Left to cherish his memory are wife, Doris Storms Oliver of Lumberton; children, Lawrence Oliver Jr. and wife Janet of Lumberton, Christopher Oliver and wife Scarlett of Lumberton, Pamela Oliver Thornton and husband Will of Wilmington, Brooks Oliver and wife Nicohl of Lumberton, and Donovan Oliver and wife Leigh of Lumberton; 11 grandchildren, Matthew Oliver, Caitlin Oliver, Blair Adcock, Meredith Oliver, Jesse Oliver, Avery Oliver, Christin Oliver, Olivia Oliver, Hilary Oliver, Cole Oliver, and Bromley Thornton; a great-grandchild, Kaden Turner; and several nieces and nephews who he loved dearly.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 tonight, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at Biggs Funeral Home.
A funeral service will be conducted at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Long Branch Baptist Church. He will be laid to rest in Gardens of Faith.