Richard Lee Thackston Jr.

July 17, 1950January 13, 2019

Richard Lee Thackston, Jr., age 68, of Wilson, went to Heaven Sunday, January 13, 2019, at Duke University Medical Center, following complications from heart disease. He slipped away quietly, smiling, his sister holding his right hand firmly, saying, “I’ve been talking to mama.”

A 1969 graduate of Ralph L. Fike High School, Richard was a laughable and serious drummer in his band, The Jades. Do you remember them? As a third-generation painter for more than 50 years, he was respected for his prowess and skill. He painted for the City of Wilson, Wilson Memorial Hospital, and hundreds of local homes. Once, a supervisor ordered Richard to paint a silver chain link fence. Richard objected. His supervisor said, “Do it!” So, Richard spray painted the fence – and all the cars that were on the other side! Richard carved out a life of independent living, arguing weekly with McDonald’s on how their biscuits were turned the wrong way in their biscuits and gravy breakfast. Richard will be missed by his friends and the daily coffee gang at McDonald’s. He was respected by “Mrs. B and the girls,” as he would say, where he worked. He was a true pioneer, a self-made man, an avid reader, a better-than-average cook, and an animal lover. The love of his life, Jan, is forever in his life’s story. Now they are together again.

He was loved by his family and many friends. Survivors include his sister, Elizabeth Thackston Hedgepeth, who spoke with her brother daily about his cats and their mom’s recipes; his brother-in-law, William Oliver Hedgepeth, Sr., with whom he discussed their mutual love of and admiration for antique cars; his nephew, William Oliver Hedgepeth, Jr. and wife, Amy Hazle Hedgepeth, who made Richard feel at home when visiting them. Richard loved listening to their children, Matthew Lane Hedgepeth and Olivia Danielle Hedgepeth, talk about college, books, and their friends, especially Michael, now serving with the Marines; his niece, Sara Elizabeth Hedgepeth Benton and Darrin Krak, both of whom loved talking cars with him, along with exchanging house painting secrets with Darrin. Ashley Elizabeth Benton and Codi Noble will miss his laughter at their backyard BBQ jokes. Taylor Lane Benton will miss showing off Jaxon Christopher Lane Benton, now five months old, to Richard, who was eager to help his youngest nephew grow up to become a first-class house painter.

At his request, Richard was cremated with his ashes residing in one of his empty paint cans.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., at Thomas-Yelverton Funeral Home, 2704 Nash St. N, Wilson, NC. Following the memorial service, his ashes will be interred with honor and prayers, alongside his parents, Lola Mae Wallace Thackston and Richard Lee Thackston, Sr., in the family cemetery at Rosebud, NC. Following the interment, Richard asked for a celebration lunch at his favorite place, Parker’s BBQ, for family and friends.

Funeral services are under the direction of Thomas-Yelverton Funeral Home, Wilson, NC. Online condolences may be sent to


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Richard Lee Thackston Jr.

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David Dixon

January 27, 2019

RIP old friend. I've got to believe there's going to be a BIG run of red drum wherever you're headed. Keep the tip up and the lines tight. God's speed.