Dr. Thomas W. Vinson Jr.

Published 6:58 pm Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MURFREESBORO – Dr. Thomas Washington Vinson, Jr., 89, passed away on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Born September 3, 1924 in the Vinson Mill community of Hertford County, he was the son of the late Thomas Washington, Sr. and Sallie Sewell Vinson. He was preceded in death by his wife, Eloise Sexton Vinson; and his sister, Lottie Vinson Parker.

Left to cherish his memory are his loving son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Thomas Wilson and Deborah Bryant Vinson of Pendleton, along with his three grandsons and their wives, Zachary Thomas and Elizabeth Pope Vinson of Murfreesboro, Joshua Bryant and Nicole Garris Vinson of Greenville, and Cola Ralph and Janna Michele Vinson of Knightdale. Lovingly called “Papa,” Dr. Vinson was especially proud of his great grandson, Craven Thomas Vinson.  Additional survivors include brothers, Edward Randolph Vinson and wife, Mary Jo, of Centerville, GA; Ralph McCrea Vinson of Portsmouth, VA; and sister, Jo Ann Vinson Grimsley of Portsmouth, VA as well as several nieces and nephews.

Dr. Vinson grew up in the Murfreesboro area until age 16 when his family moved to Portsmouth, VA where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. He worked at Norfolk Naval Shipyard as a sheet metal mechanic, where he helped to construct the USS Alabama. He then enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a pilot from 1943-1945. After his service he returned to employment at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and served in the Army Air Corps Reserve program until 1954.

At the age of 29, Dr. Vinson began his educational quest to become a dentist. He attended ChowanCollege, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and UNC School of Dentistry. While in school he worked during summers at his part-time business, Tom’s Auto Service, to earn money to support his family and pay tuition. He graduated with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1963, and he, his wife and son returned to Murfreesboro to establish his dental practice. There he served his community faithfully for 50 years until his retirement in 2013.

Dr. Vinson was active with the Murfreesboro Exchange Club for ten years. He served on the Hertford County Board of Health for several years. He was a member of the ADA, a life member of the NC Dental Society, and a member of the Fifth District Dental Society. Having grown up and been baptized in Meherrin Baptist Church, he later joined Murfreesboro United Methodist Church where he faithfully served on various committees for the last 50 years.

Although his first love was dentistry, he also enjoyed salt water fishing, gardening, tending to his fruit orchard, and spending time with his family. In his later years he enjoyed attending reunions of his Army Air Corps graduating class.  He possessed a strong work ethic and used his God-given mechanical gifts to fix almost anything that needed repairing.  He truly came from the era where things were repaired until they were “wore slam out.” Dr. Vinson was a kind, compassionate, and generous man who will be greatly missed.

The family will receive friends at the Vaughan Creek Road home of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Wilson Vinson.

A celebration of life was held on Tuesday, April 29 at Murfreesboro United Methodist Church with Pastor Monica Yungeberg officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Murfreesboro United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 392, Murfreesboro, NC  27855.

Bridgers Funeral Home, Inc. in Conway handled the arrangements. Online condolences may be directed to www.bridgersfuneralhome.com.