Tom Arch Denton passed to eternity on Monday, December 26th, 2011. He was born the youngest of 7 children in January 1929 to Florence Ann Burnette and Callie Denton in Wood, North Carolina. He graduated Gold Sand School in 1947 and served his country in the United States Air Force from 1948 to 1950. Upon returning from service, he soon met the love of his life, Donnie Ray Qualls, and married February 18th, 1951. They moved to Rocky Mount where Tom began his career with the Atlantic Coastline Railroad, which later became Seaboard Coastline Railroad and presently CSX.
In 1970, he was elected as Vice Chairman of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees and graduated Harvard Business School the same year. He was later elected to General Chairman and retired in 1989. He was a 32nd degree Mason in the local Queen City Lodge #602. After retirement, Tom enjoyed over 20 years pursuing his hobbies of spending time with family and friends, fishing, cooking at the Rocky Mount Shrine Club, volunteering at election polls and participating in Meals on Wheels. He greatly enjoyed his 5-day a week coffee club at Hardee’s and his Saturday mornings at Dunkin Donuts with his friends. He was an avid reader, loved all animals and feeding his birds daily.
As a young man, Tom was a member of Wood Baptist Church and later, when he and Donnie moved to Rocky Mount, they both became active members of Clark Street United Methodist Church and Marvin United Methodist Church.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Callie Denton; sisters, Monita Gupton, Cora Stiwalt, and Sue Shearin; brothers Jack, Eugene, Robert Lee, and Dick Isham Denton. He will be forever adored by his surviving family, wife of 60 years, Donnie Qualls Denton; son, Tommy (Sue); daughters, Joie Byrne (Charles), and Valerie Bunn; his 10 grandchildren, Daniel, Jordan Denton and Carol Welsh, Edward, Raymond, Gerald, and Joseph Byrne, Emily Byrne Kousis (Chris), Emerald, Olsen, and Neill Bunn; 2 beautiful great-grandsons, Christopher and Alex Kousis; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is planned for Thursday, December 29th at 7:00 p.m. at Johnson Funeral Home and Cremations on English Road in Rocky Mount, with the Reverend Jim Hayes officiating, with visitation following the service. A private, family ceremony will be held at a later date to carry out his final wishes.
The family would like to thank all the caregivers and wonderful friends who have generously offered prayers, visits and words of encouragement over these last few months.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials sent to the Shriners Children’s Hospital and Marvin United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson Funerals & Cremations, 661 English Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.johnsonfuneralsandcremations.com