2018-04-25 / Obituaries

William Burke Mewborne, Jr.

HIGH POINT — William Burke Mewborne, Jr., age 82, died peacefully Friday, April 20th at River Landing in High Point.

Bill was born and raised in a tightknit family in Roxboro.   He attended Roxboro High School where he was Salutatorian, captain of the debate team, a nationally awarded public speaker, Student Body president, Class president, and starter on the  Rockets’ basketball team.  He was recruited to play basketball at UNC by Frank McGuire, but his first love was Duke, much to his UNC-graduated children’s dismay.  However, Bill would consider his best day’s work EVER when he presided as president over the North Carolina State Student Council and met his future bride, Elizabeth Leigh Jordan, on the steps of Chapel Hill High School at the Council’s annual meeting. 

Bill matriculated to Duke University on a scholastic scholarship, where he was chairman of the Judicial Board, president of the ATO fraternity, president of his freshman class, a member of the Red Friars and played freshman basketball. 

After graduating in 1958, Bill entered the navy as a LTJG on-board minesweeper U.S.S. Nimble.  He always said he made a pact with God if he ever got off that boat, he would never board a ship again, and was true to his word, immune to family suggestions of vacation cruises!  After being honorably discharged, he returned home to work for his family’s business, the Roxboro Lumber Company.

In 1965 he joined Wachovia Bank & Trust in Winston-Salem, (where he made life-long friendships), and rose to Vice President before being recruited to Adams-Millis in High Point in 1970.  At Adams-Millis, he was elected President and Chief Operating Officer in 1974.  In 1982, he left Adams Millis to become President & Chief Operating Officer of PCA International Inc., in Charlotte, NC  and was named CEO in 1984. 

He served on numerous professional boards, including Southern Region Board of Directors of Wachovia Bank & Trust, PCA International, Inc., Piedmont Associated Industries, Inc., and Reliance Universal Inc., in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Bill had one last career road he wanted to take when he left PCA to pursue entrepreneurial interests having acquired two textile machinery companies which he merged, as well as dipping his toe into retail photography franchising.  In doing so, he came full circle as he fulfilled a two-fold dream of owning his own company and working with his son, Burke.  Bill continually exemplified to his children the courage to make change and the importance of taking educated risks in pursuit of doing what challenged and motivated one in their career journey.  In addition, Bill was very progressive in championing women executives in the work place as well as assuring his two daughters they could be whatever they wanted to be while educating them on how to navigate the realities of being a female in the professional world. 

Bill did feel a duty to give back to his community and did so serving through various charitable organizations, namely as Director of the High Point Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Advisory Committee for High Point Memorial Hospital, Board of Visitors Mercy Hospital (Charlotte), Board of Directors Charlotte Speech & Hearing Center and Director of Fund for the Advancement of Science & Mathematics Education in North Carolina, (prelude to The North Carolina School of Math and Science).  He served as Finance Committee chair of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church and was a regular Adult Education teacher, and on the parish committee of First United Methodist Church in Morehead City.

In his free time, Bill enjoyed flying airplanes, playing tennis, reading, performing in the River Landing band, and spending time at the beach.

Bill was known for his quick wit, engaging personality, charm, keen intelligence, strong moral compass and punctuality!  He saw his most important accomplishment as 60 years of marriage to his much-loved-and-adored wife.  Their relationship always came first.  He was a most-respected father and definite patriarch of the family.  He loved and was loved.

In addition to his wife, Bill is survived by his three children and their spouses;  William Burke Mewborne, III, (Burke) and his wife Alison Horton Mewborne, Elizabeth Mewborne Townsend and her husband W. L. Douglas Townsend, Jr. (Doug), Virginia Mewborne Spykerman and her husband Mark Wesley Spykerman, (Mark), and a most cherished and respected sister and brother-in-law, Carlotta Mewborne Clement (Clem) and Donald Hayes Clement (Hayes), and eight grandchildren.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1225 Chestnut Drive, in High Point, on Saturday, April 28 at 10 a.m. A visitation will follow in the Asbury Room.

In gratefulness and gratitude, the family would like to thank River Landing, Hospice of the Piedmont and Wesley Memorial for taking the logistical worries out of transition to everlasting life.  We ask that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to either Presbyterian Homes Foundation, Inc., 1575 John Knox Drive, Colfax, NC 27235 or Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point NC 27262, or Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church/Wesley Singer’s Endowment, 1225 Chestnut Drive, High Point, NC 27262.

Cumby Family Funeral Service High Point Chapel is Assisting the Mewborne family. Online condolences may be made at Cumbyfuneral.com.

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