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Thurman Willis Herndon, Sr passed away on December 8, 2023 at the age of 74 years old.
Early Life Thurman was born the youngest of two children to Cara and Madison H. Herndon in Raleigh, on June 14, 1949. He spent his youth playing with his older brother, William, spending time with friends/family and going to church. Church was a non-negotiable in the Herndon household on Sunday mornings. Oftentimes, even hosting the pastor, in their home. (Sidenote: Mrs. Herndon was known for her culinary abilities).
As a young child, Thurman attended Lucille Hunter Elementary School and, later, attended Ligon High, graduating in 1967. It was during this time that he met and finessed the love of his life, Brenda. They became high school sweethearts and continued their relationship even after Brenda’s graduation in 1968. They got married in 1970 and had three children together – Brenda Nichole “Nicci”, Thurman Willis “Sonny” and Madison Henry “Buddy”.
Husband, Dad, Grandfather, Confidant Thurman loved his family and enjoyed providing for them. The smallest requests from Brenda were granted with the highest reverence. If you knew him, he was a man of God who, unconditionally, loved his family. His children enjoyed the benefits of having a father who wanted better for his children. For example, introducing the Atari game console when first created. Teaching each of them to ride their bikes, showing off his roller-skating abilities, playing video games and challenging them in fun ways are memories that will be cherished forever. Thurman was known for his stern parenting by his children, but his grandchildren never knew “that Thurman”. His grandchildren converted him into a different man. “Papa” as he was affectionately called, was highly sought after by his grand babies. One often saw him with several of his grandchildren on any given day. They enjoyed spending time with “Papa” who also taught them to ride bikes, roller skate and obtain wisdom from him. Always delivering love, support, spiritual guidance/advice and FOOD. Thurman enjoyed, both, preparing and eating good food. (Emphasis on good food). He would eat whatever you put in front of him (he even had a way of making bad cooks feel special). He was a special kind of confidant to those who confided in him. Sharing his wisdom with those who needed guidance and advise, he was often sought after for his humor laden support. As a result, one would often leave such sessions feeling good and laughing. A skill that cannot be taught or learned.
He held a special place in his heart for his grand fur babies; Nomi, Coco and Sasha. The family knew to always bring his “puppies” (as he referred to them) to visit. During these times, it was common to see him “grinning from ear to ear” with delight as he provided snacks and affection to them.
Professional Career He began his career at Carolina Power and Light in1970. Thurman’s innate abilities allowed an expeditious and linear progression within the organization. He was promoted within the company throughout the years and ultimately managed the transformer shop in Garner, NC. Several of his colleagues would confide in him for professional support and guidance when needed. In 2005, Thurman decided to retire from Progress Energy. But lo! His work was not done, yet. Former colleagues sought after his expertise and invited him to contract at Fort Bragg with the Sand Hills Utilities division. He considered this as an opportunity since it allowed him to, further, provide for his wife. Then after 5 years, he retired for good.
The Grill Meister He was a master when it came to grilling and smoking meat. Every year, he smoked a pig and turkeys. Family and friends, from near and far, put in their orders for his smoked pig and turkey. His secret sauce was a fan favorite, selling it by the jug, as well! During the all-night pig-smoking sessions, he would allow his kids to stay awake with him. As a child, who had a 9 pm bedtime, it was a treat to stay up late with your daddy! “Child labor” was a benefit: running back and forth to the house, brining whatever utensils were needed.
He was preceded in death by his dad, Madison “MH”; his mom, Cara; his brother, William; son, “Sonny”, and son, “Buddy”.
He is survived by his wife, Brenda Herndon, his daughter, Nicci Ebert (Andy) of Cary, Special daughter, Florinda Rosario of Myrtle Beach, grandchildren: Xavier Herndon of Knightdale, Shayla Ebert of Knightdale; Jayla Grant of Raleigh, Sonni Herndon of Greensboro, Madison Elaine Herndon “Madi”of Atlanta, Alaina Ebert of Raleigh, Ashley Herndon of Greensboro, Daniel Ebert of Wendell, Robert “Xan” of Cary; Sonny Herndon of Myrtle Beach, Thurman of Myrtle Beach and Madison Henry III of Mebane. Mother-In-Law, Vennie Hall of Raleigh; Sister-In-Law, Margaret Herndon of Raleigh; Linda Chavis of Raleigh; Pauline Dunn (Jerry) of Raleigh; Anthony Hall (Patrice) of Knightdale; Michael Hall (Allison) of Raleigh; Timothy Hall (Estelle) of Raleigh; Jeffrey Hall (Sally) of Atlanta.
An extensive list of aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces other close family and friends are left to grieve Thurman. He will be remembered as and ethical servant of God, a devoted family man, a skilled master and a source of wisdom and laughter to all who knew him.