Aug. 28, 1937-Feb. 11, 2011
Haywood Mercer "H.M." Poythress, 73, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011, at Pitt Memorial Hospital surrounded by his family.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Goldsboro, with Deacon Webster James presiding. Interment will be at 3 p.m. at Macclesfield Cemetery.
H.M. was born in Wilson County on Aug. 28, 1937, to the late Roscoe Mack and Alma Mercer Poythress. He graduated from Rock Ridge High School in 1955. He served his country in the U.S. Army National Guard for six years. It was there that he tried his first slice of pizza. H.M. started his career as an employee with Heilig-Meyers in Rocky Mount before being promoted to manager of the store in Goldsboro. He received and earned countless awards with the company and moved to their corporate headquarters in Richmond, Va., as their main buyer.
After a successful 17 year career with Heilig-Meyers, H.M. became an entrepreneur in the restaurant business. He partnered with Ed Copeland Sr. and the late A.G. "Griff" Glover in opening their first Pizza Inn in 1969 in Goldsboro. Several years later, Diversified Foods was formed and several Pizza Inns, as well as other restaurants, were opened in eastern North Carolina. They also began manufacturing with the formation of Old South Foods, LTD. In addition, H.M. was founding partner of Division One Foods, an area franchisor for Pizza Inn covering a three-state area. Over the years he received many awards, including the N.C. Restaurant Association Restaurateur of the Year Award, the N.C. Restaurant Association Education Award, the Pizza Inn Griff Glover Award, and the Pizza Inn Paul Turner Award.
H.M. spent his entire life serving others in the restaurant business as well as other areas in the community. He was on the board of directors of several Pizza Inn corporate organizations, serving as president of the Pizza Inn Franchise Association, and chairman of the Pizza Inn Advertising Plan. One of his deepest passions was education. He served on the board of directors of Wayne Country Day School, and Mount Olive College. He was also instrumental in the formation of the DFI Family of Friends, which is an annual golf tournament helping to fund scholarships for the Department of Hospitality at East Carolina University. The university presented H.M. with the ECU Hospitality Legacy Award in 2008. He also served on the board of Walnut Creek Country Club as well as the local board of Branch Banking and Trust Co. He was a member of the Goldsboro chapter of the BPOE No.139 and Hornes United Methodist Church of Wilson.
In 2008, a long-term employee and friend unselfishly donated a kidney to H.M. in order to improve his health and quality of life. The family will forever be grateful to Don Glendenning and his wife, Debbie, of Sharpsburg.
H.M. is survived by his wonderful wife of 53 years, Jeanette Webb, formerly of Macclesfield; one daughter and husband, Jill, and Sean Nielsen of Goldsbor; two granddaughters, Kathryn Mercer and Hayden McConnell; a brother, Henry Poythress, and wife, Norma, of Sims; and a sister, Juanita Walston, of Sims. He is also survived by many wonderful nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Haywood Mercer Poythress Jr., and his brothers, Chester Poythress, Kirby Thomas Poythress, Douglas Felton Poythress, William Milton Poythress and Roscoe Carroll Poythress.
Visitation will be Tuesday night, Feb. 15, from 6 until 8 p.m. at Seymour Funeral Home in Goldsboro.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorials be made to the following foundations:
National Kidney Foundation, 30 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016; American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, Va. 22312.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome. com.
Published in Obituaries on February 13, 2011 11:07 AM