News and Notes

Suiter named to Twin County Hall of Fame

Posted November 15, 2013

— Longtime WRAL sports anchor Tom Suiter was among those honored Thursday night, inducted to the Twin County Hall of Fame.

The hall recognizes important community contributors from Nash and Edgecombe counties.

Suiter was a member of the Class of 2013 along with two photographers, a pediatrician, two community volunteers, two sports figures, an educator and a state legislator.

The Class of 2013

A Rocky Mount native, Suiter joined the staff of WRAL-TV in Raleigh in 1971 as a sports reporter. Ten years later he became the sports anchor and began two long lasting series – Football Friday which focuses on high school football games around the state, and the Extra Effort Award. That award recognizes scholar athletes who shine off the playing field too.

Suiter has received 17 Emmy nominations and numerous Associated and United Press awards. In 1990, he was recognized as the NC Sportscaster of the year. Last year he was inducted into the NC High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.  

Tom Suiter Twin County Hall of Fame Hall of Fame adds WRAL's Suiter

Walter C. Bryant is a native of Rocky Mount. He spent much of his life recording images of the African Americans in Nash and Edgecombe counties. A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Bryant attended Hampton University in Virginia. Bryant opened his studio in 1945 on the Douglas Block in Rocky Mount and took portraits and community photos for the next 50 years. His work was recently exhibited at the Dunn Center in Rocky Mount.

Born and raised in Tarboro, Ralph Michael “Mike” Caldwell played baseball in Tarboro and pitched two no-hitters his senior year. Caldwell then took NC State to participate in the Collegiate World Series in 1968. He was drafted by San Diego but spent most of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers where he had a 3.74 earned run average. Caldwell pitched in the 1982 World Series against St. Louis.  

Although Cyrus Melvin Edson was born in Virginia, he spent his entire educational career in Edgecombe and Nash counties where, between 1930 and 1973, he served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, Drama Department Head, director of secondary schools and finally as an Associate Superintendent for Rocky Mount Public Schools. Edson had earned his B.A. and M.A. from UNC – Chapel Hill. Edson died in 1975.

The Fountain name is a familiar one in the Twin County Hall of Fame as currently there are four Fountains already in the Hall of Fame. This year Benjamin E. Fountain, Sr. will be joining the others including his son Ben E. Fountain Jr.

Fountain Sr. was raised in Leggett, graduated from UNC- Chapel Hill after World War I and became a lawyer in Rocky Mount. He was also active in community affairs serving on the school board and serving seven terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Fountain died in 1969.

Dr. Henry Boone Grant graduated from Duke Medical School in 1941. He came to this area after serving in World War II as a medical officer in the 82nd Airborne where he earned a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. He was a beloved pediatrician for almost 50 years. He also was on the Nash County Health Department and also served in neighboring Halifax County Health Department. For over 30 years, Grant taught babysitting classes at the YWCA. He was actively involved with restoration work at Historic Halifax. Grant has received numerous awards including the Algernon S. Sullivan Award for Public Service from NC Wesleyan College, and the Mentors in Medicine Medallion from Duke Medical Alumni Association. Grant died in 2009.

Born in Tarboro, Charles Killebrew, Jr. made a name for himself as a photographer in Rocky Mount. Killebrew graduated from Tarboro High School and then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war he opened his own photography studio and served as a photographer for the Rocky Mount Telegram. Over the years Killebrew took over half a million photos of people and events in the Twin Counties. That collection was given to Braswell Library and is now a part of the University of North Carolina’s special North Carolina collection in the Wilson Library at Chapel Hill. Killebrew died in 2009.

Rocky Mount native William “Bill” Murray played football from 1928 – 1930 at Duke University where he was recognized as an All-American. He coached at University of Delaware for six seasons, three of which were undefeated, before returning to his alma mater. Murray was head coach at Duke from 1951-1965 and compiled a record of 142-67-11, including seven conference championships. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.  Murray died in 1986.

A graduate of Rocky Mount Senior High and UNC- Greensboro, Deborah Sloan Kornegay worked at Nash Edgecombe Mental Health and was coordinator for Rocky Mount Meals on Wheels. She was active in her Church of the Good Shepherd and served as secretary for the Christian Fellowship Homes for Men and Women. Kornegay was an avid potter and supporter of the local arts organizations.  Kornegay died in 2007.

Jennie Douglas Taylor was born in Charlotte, but has worked throughout North Carolina in the fields of education and public health. A graduate of Biddle/Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, she attended Atlanta University and completed her MA at the University of Michigan. Taylor taught at Fayetteville State University in the 1930s, leaving that position to become the Public Health Educator for the state of North Carolina. She also organized the Public Health Education Department at NC Central University. Taylor moved to Tarboro after retiring from NC Central in the 1970s and co-founded the Community Enrichment Organization and served as a mentor to many young people. She died in 2006 at the age of 99.

4 Comments

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  • Gnathostomata Nov 20, 7:19 p.m.

    Congratulations, Tom Suiter. Deserved and earned by the professionalism you exhibit.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Nov 15, 7:49 p.m.

    Very happy for Tom Suiter - a class act if ever there was one! I still enjoy Football Friday - I can't imagine how much work goes into that production, covering so many games in so many counties. I've read how Tom always went out of his way to learn every new employee's name at WRAL, and made them feel welcome. Tom Suiter is truly an amazing man.

  • VikingTom Nov 15, 4:26 p.m.

    Congrats to Mr Football Friday!

  • 79Coach Nov 15, 1:38 p.m.

    Could not happen to a finer man. Wonderful advocate for young athletes and always remembers the little guys. Congratulations on a job (and career) well done!

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