photo courtesy of Boddie-Noelle Enterprises, inc.


Nash County natives, and brothers, best known for their entrepreneurial spirit and community involvement. The Boddie brothers are touted for transforming a single Hardee’s restaurant into one of the Country’s largest privately owned restaurant franchises. Their company, Boddie-Noell Enterprises (BNE), boasts a long, healthy history – currently having over 300 Hardee’s locations across North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Kentucky, and employing more than 9,000 people. BNE also operates the Highway Diner, a local favorite, Rose Hill Plantation, and BNE Land and Development Company.

photo courtesy Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times


Rocky Mount native, UNC graduate. Following college graduation in mid-60s, went to New York, where he joined Chemical Bank. After merger with Chase Manhattan Bank, he became bank’s President and CEO and later Chairman of corporation. Now serves as President and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, nation’s third largest bank.

photo courtesy Nancy Pierce

Jerry Richardson

Spring Hope native. Football star for Wofford College and Baltimore Colts. Founded Spartan Foods, at one time nation’s largest Hardee’s Foods licensee. Past founder and majority owner of NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

photo courtesy of charlotteobserver.com

Ken Thompson

Grew up in Rocky Mount and was Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill. Served as President and CEO of First Union Corp., nation’s sixth largest bank.


photo courtesy of capitaltonightnc.twcnews.com

Mike Easley

Born in Rocky Mount and attended Rocky Mount Senior High, UNC-Chapel Hill and NC Central School of Law. Served with distinction as District Attorney for 13th Judicial District from 1982-1990. Elected NC Attorney General in 1992 and served two terms. Gained national reputation as consumer protection specialist. Elected the 32nd Governor of the State of North Carolina on November 7, 2000.

photo courtesy of nashvillegraphic.com

Jim Gardner

Rocky Mount native served as member of U.S. House of Representatives from 1967 to 1969. Elected Lt. Governor of State of North Carolina, serving from 1989-1992.

photo courtesy of The Library of Congress

Harold Cooley

Nashville native. Served in US Congress from 1934-1966. Served as Chairman of House Committee on Agriculture and was instrumental in development of Farmers Home Administration (FHA). Authored Food for Freedom Act (1966).

photo courtesy of Chris Seward

Roy Cooper

Born in Nash County and attended Northern Nash Senior High School. Morehead Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill. Won seat to N.C. House in 1986 and was appointed to Senate in 1991. Served as Chairman of Judiciary Committee and Ethics Committee. Unanimously elected Senate Majority Leader in 1997. Elected N.C. Attorney General on November 7, 2000, and served his four terms. Currently serving as the 75th Governor of North Carolina since 2017.


photo courtesy of twitter.com @philfordbball

Phil Ford

All-American basketball player at Rocky Mount Senior High. Unanimous All-American and record holder for UNC Tar Heels under legendary coach Dean Smith. Named Rookie-of-the-Year with NBA’s Kansas City Kings. Inducted into the NC Sports Hall of Fame.

photo courtesy of thebrooklyngame.com

Buck Williams

Following graduation from Rocky Mount Senior High, went on to University of Maryland, where he achieved All-American honors and was nation’s leading rebounder. Williams was NBA Rookie-of-the-Year with New Jersey Nets and received numerous awards for his stellar defensive play and his sportsmanship during his long distinguished pro career.

photo courtesy of Society for American Baseball Research

Chuck Hinton

Growing up in the Crosstown area of Rocky Mount, Chuck Hinton played with the Senators and the Cleveland Indians from 1961 to 1971. He batted .310 in 1962, 4th overall just behind Mickey Mantle, the only player to bat over .300 for the expansion Senators.

photo courtesy of nashvillegraphic.com

Danny Talbott

Led Rocky Mount Senior High to record-shattering, three-state championships (football, basketball and baseball) in one scholastic year. All-American at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he was one of the nation’s top football and baseball players. Named ACC Athlete of the Year. Arguably the state of North Carolina’s finest athlete – ever.

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Jim Clack

A mainstay in American Football, Clack, a Rocky Mount native, played 11 seasons (seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and four with the New York Giants) earning two super bowl rings in back-to-back Super Bowl wins (1974 & 1975) while playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

photo courtesy of Society for American Baseball Research

Buck Leonard

Although never having played in the major leagues, Leonard, a Rocky Mount native, was a first baseman for the Negro and Mexican Leagues – playing for the Homestead Grays for 16 years. Leonard was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and was ranked as the 47th greatest (out of 100) baseball players by The Sporting News in 1999.

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Mike Tyson

A Rocky Mount native, Tyson is well-known as a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player; playing as a second baseman and shortstop. Tyson’s MLB resume includes both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Tyson retired from Baseball in 1982.

photo courtesy of www.uwec.edu

Herman Boone

A Rocky Mount native, Boone coached football for over 40 years. Boone is most famous for coaching at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia – where his tenure and leadership on and off the football field in the face of integration of two previously segregated schools and football programs inspired the movie Remember the Titans.


photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Kaye Gibbons

A Nash County native, Gibbons is a nationally acclaimed novelist – most widely known for her first work, Ellen Foster – which received a number of awards; including the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. prize from UNC Chapel Hill, and inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club in 1998.

photo courtesy of Jeremy M. Lange

Allan Gurganus

Known as an award-winning American novelist, Gurganus, a Rocky Mount native, was a trained painter; studying at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In his later years, Gurganus taught at Sarah Lawrence, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Stanford, and Duke University.

photo courtesy of northcarolinamusichalloffame.org

Kay Kyser

A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and a Rocky Mount native, Kyser is well-known as a popular American bandleader and radio personality. Kyser’s band, “Kollege of Musical Knowledge,” produced 11 number one records – leading the charts in the late 1930s and into the early 40s – and appeared in several motion pictures.

photo courtesy of The Library of Congress

Thelonious Monk

A Rocky Mount native, Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. Monk’s family relocated to Manhattan (NYC) when he was five – where he started playing the piano and ultimately began his life in music. Although Monk did not graduate from high school, he did study music at the Juilliard School of Music for a short time. In 2000, a Rocky Mount park was dedicated in his honor at 920 South Washington Street.








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Phone (252) 972-5080
Toll Free (800) 849-6825