Hoyt Thornburg Obituary
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Hoyt Lee Thornburg Sr.

February 21, 1926 - March 22, 2014
Obituary

Hoyt Lee Thornburg, Sr., age 88, passed away Saturday, March 22, 2014, in his home, with his family near him. He was born Feb. 21, 1926 in his family's home in Candor, N.C., the son of Grady Lee Thornburg and Lydia Lassiter Thornburg of Candor, in Montgomery County, where he grew up on the family peach farm, along with his beloved older brother, Hugh. He enlisted at age 17 and served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and fought in the South Pacific. He participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima – he turned 19 in a foxhole on Iwo Jima -- and witnessed the historic Iwo Jima flag-raising in February 1945. He earned his...
Hoyt Lee Thornburg, Sr., age 88, passed away Saturday, March 22, 2014, in his home, with his family near him. He was born Feb. 21, 1926 in his family's home in Candor, N.C., the son of Grady Lee Thornburg and Lydia Lassiter Thornburg of Candor, in Montgomery County, where he grew up on the family peach farm, along with his beloved older brother, Hugh. He enlisted at age 17 and served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and fought in the South Pacific. He participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima – he turned 19 in a foxhole on Iwo Jima -- and witnessed the historic Iwo Jima flag-raising in February 1945. He earned his Purple Heart and other medals for his military service.

After the war, he attended N.C. State University in Raleigh, where he majored in agricultural education and poultry science. In Raleigh, he was introduced to the love of his life, Lois Jordan Godwin of Raleigh, by Hugh's future wife, Tillie. The four told wonderful tales about sharing a residence on Mayview Road as two young married couples. Hoyt was an ardent N.C. State Wolfpack fan, who would recall attending basketball games in the old Frank Thompson Gym and watching Everett Case's teams in Reynolds Coliseum.

Hoyt and Lois were married for 53 years. Early in their marriage, they moved to Candor and began his lifelong agribusiness career on his 150-acre farm, where he grew peaches and raised cotton, tobacco and small grain. He also taught veteran training at Candor High School.

But they would move back to Raleigh, and he joined his brother in the poultry business, working in equipment and feed sales with companies including Allied Mills, Leach Manufacturing, Hales and Hunter, and Direct Services Inc. He also managed feed mills, hatcheries and processing plants for Carolina Farms and Webster Farms, which became part of Lane Processing, later acquired by Townsend Farms. He retired in 2000 from Cobb-Fentress-Vantress Inc. (a subsidiary of Tyson Foods), but he continued working, helping to train his successor there. And in his later years, he assisted his sons, Lee and William (Billy), in their business, White Horse Transportation, till not long before his death.

During his career, many of his jobs were located in towns and cities other than Raleigh, but he commuted those distances daily so that his sons could grow up and go to school in Raleigh. A dedicated dad, he coached both of his sons in sports and never missed a game or a meet of either of his boys. He had been baptized at Candor Methodist Church but joined Hayes Barton Baptist Church with his wife, whose parents (Clarence I. and Lois O. Godwin) were charter members of HBBC. Hoyt served on the boards of the Carolina Feed Industries and the N.C. Poultry Association. He was also a member of the Elks Club.

Hoyt was predeceased by his wife, Lois; his parents; his brother William Hugh Thornburg; his brother Thomas W. Thornburg (who died in infancy); and by his and Lois' two infant daughters.

He is survived by his sons, Hoyt Lee Thornburg Jr., (wife, Donna) and William Hugh Thornburg (wife, Laurie); and by his grandchildren, Grady, Graeson, Natalie and Lindsay Thornburg - as well as by numerous nieces and nephews, and many friends.

Visitation will be at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary's Street, Raleigh, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The funeral service at Hayes Barton Baptist Church will take place Wednesday, March 26, beginning at 2:00 p.m. (luncheon for family and intimate friends at church at noon). Following the funeral service, the burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery with military honors.

In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Hayes Barton Baptist Church music ministry. Hoyt watched the HBBC televised service every Sunday, saying the music took him back to the gospel music he was raised hearing his father sing on the family farm.

Condolences may be made through brownwynne.com.

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"William and Lee, I would surely trade places with Hoyt if I could. What a bright light for me your dad was - a one of a kind guy. I think his afterlife is..." Tracy Roper (Raleigh, NC)

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News & Observer, The
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