William B. “Billy” Thompson, Sr.

Published 3:02 pm Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mr. William Bonner “Billy” Thompson, Sr., age 96, resident of Aurora, died Saturday, March 25, 2023, at his home.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 PM Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at the Aurora United Methodist Church in Aurora, conducted by Johnny Yount. Burial will follow in High Hill Cemetery in Aurora.

The following will serve as pallbearers: Tarry Boyd, Guy Boyd, Keith Overton, Bob Overton, Sid Cayton, and Glenn Williamson.

Mr. Thompson was born in Aurora on May 2, 1926.  He was the son of the late Myers Bonner Thompson and Naomi Holiday Thompson.

Mr. Thompson was a World War II veteran, serving in the 3rd Army, 2nd Infantry Division.  He fought on the front lines at the “Battle of the Bulge”, receiving three battlefield promotions.  Mr. Thompson earned numerous accommodations including being awarded the Bronze Star.  He interrupted his college years to proudly serve his country. After serving his country, Mr. Thompson returned to N.C. State to complete his degree in Mechanical engineering and was a staunch supporter of the University throughout his life.

Mr. Thompson was a proud Aurora businessman and farmer.  In the 1970’s, he was one of the nation’s largest growers of white potatoes for processing into potato chips and French fries.  Mr. Thompson developed the first conveyor system for harvesting, grading, and loading potatoes for bulk transportation (formerly a labor-intensive bagging operation).  This conveyor system became the standard shipping method for white potatoes.

Mr. Thompson was founding member of the Beaufort County Hospital Board, former member of the Beaufort County School Board, member of the Aurora United Methodist Church and Chairman of Finance committee and Wachovia Bank Board.  He was a Shriner, a member of the Scottish Rites and the Masonic Temple in New Bern for over 50 years.  Mr. Thompson was a member of the VFW and American Legion.  He was a former Chief and member of the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department.

On February 14, 1951, Mr. Thompson married the former Jacqueline Overton, who survives.

Surviving with his wife are his son, William B. Thompson and wife, Brigid E. Thompson of Willow Springs, NC; his daughter, Joanne Thompson and husband, Richen Brame of Wilmington; four grandchildren, Kyle Thompson of Hampton, VA, Connor Thompson and wife Lindsey of Fuquay Varina, N.C, Kelyn Brame of Wilmington, Lauren Tucci and husband Michael of Fayetteville, N.C; and great granddaughter, Sara Rose Thompson of Fuquay Varina, N.C.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Thompson was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Martha Boyd of Atlanta.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Aurora United Methodist Church, c/o Mrs. Lynn Edwards, 68 Four Paws Road, Aurora, N.C. 27806 or Methodist Home for Children, 1041 Washington Street, Raleigh, N.C.  27605-1259.

Online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting www.paulfuneralhome.com.

Paul Funeral Home & Crematory in Washington is honored to serve the Thompson family.