Donald Richard Monroe, 85, of Asheboro, peacefully died Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at Hospice of Randolph County surrounded by his family and friends.
A service celebrating the life of Mr. Monroe will be held 11:00 am, Saturday, January 11 at the First Presbyterian Church, 419 West Walker Avenue, Asheboro, North Carolina.
Mr. Monroe was born January 12, 1934, in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Claude Cornelius Monroe and Lucy Luanna Britain Monroe. In 1948, following his father’s desire to return to North Carolina, the family moved to Seagrove. Disappointed to learn the Seagrove school lacked a band, so arrangements were made for him to attend Asheboro High School, and join a community he would call home the remainder of his life.
Mr. Monroe is survived by his wife of 61 years, Janella Morris Monroe; son Donald Richard “Rick” Monroe II and his wife, Debra of Cornelius, NC; son James Michael Monroe and wife Betzie of Asheboro; grandson Donald Richard Monroe III and Sarah Twomey, of Winston-Salem; grandson Robert Callner Monroe of Morrisville, NC, grandsons Malcom Gibson Monroe and James Marshall Monroe, both of Asheboro; nephew Claude Robert Bailey of Virginia Beach, Virginia; and extended family Nancy Williams, Frederick M. Morris and Joseph C. Morris. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Betty Lynn Bailey.
Mr. Monroe was a 1952 graduate of Asheboro High School where he was a talented trumpeter in the school band. He and other classmates performed with “The Top Hatters” a local dance band popular at the Teenage Club on Salisbury Street in the 1950’s. He attended the University of North Carolina where he was president of Theta Chi fraternity and he graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He worked as facilities engineer in the textile industry for several firms including Klopman Mills, Anvil Brand, Sara-Lee Knit Products and most notably 22 years with Stedman Manufacturing in Asheboro. After “retiring” he took on a second career as a financial advisor with AXA Advisors/The Equitable in Asheboro.
Mr. Monroe was life-long member of the Presbyterian Church, growing up in Coleman Place Presbyterian in Norfolk and at the First Presbyterian Church of Asheboro for more than 60 years. There he served several terms as a Deacon and was an ordained Elder, serving twice as Clerk of Session. He greatly enjoyed singing with the church choir and teaching Sunday School, and served as youth group advisor and Scout leader.
Mr. Monroe was a tireless community volunteer and used his talents to raise funds for numerous organizations including the Asheboro-Randolph YMCA. He was a long-time member of the Asheboro Kiwanis Club where in 2004 he was named a Carl B. Hyatt Fellow. He was instrumental in raising funds for the Kiwanis baseball program, selling season tickets and team sponsorships. He enjoyed working with his fellow Kiwanians in the concession stand at Post 45 baseball games for many years. Mr. Monroe was a volunteer for the Randolph County United Way, including a term as a director, Campaign Chairman and Chairman of the Board in 1984. He similarly served as a board member and was involved in capital campaigns for Crossroads Retirement Community. He represented at-risk children as a Guardian ad Litem through the Randolph County courts system.
Mr. Monroe was also known for his collection of antique Lionel toy trains. He was a well-respected expert in the hobby with a great knowledge of the subject and skill in restoring old trains. His large, operating train layout was the delight of children in the Asheboro area for many years. In recent years he also took great joy singing with “The Adequates” who he liked to joke was the world’s largest barbershop quartet – featuring five members.
The family wishes to thank the members of First Presbyterian Church for their prayerful support and kindness. They also extend their sincere appreciation to the staff of Hospice of Randolph and especially Dr. Chris Street of White Oak Family Physicians for their professional and compassionate care over the past weeks and months.
In lieu of flowers the family request memorials be made to First Presbyterian Church, Hospice of Randolph County, Asheboro-Randolph YMCA or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Services entrusted to Midstate Cremation & Funeral Service.
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