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Longtime Eagle president dies at 87

May 25, 2022
John Thomas worked at Overnight and Kenan before joining Eagle Transport, where he served as president from 1984 until his retirement in 2001

Former Eagle Transport president John Thomas died May 18. He was 87 years old.

Thomas served as president of Eagle Transport Corporation from 1984 to 2001. During his tenure, the company enjoyed tremendous growth and success, entering many new markets and business segments.

Thomas, born June 21, 1934, began his career at 17 at Overnight Transportation in Atlanta as a rate and billing clerk. He quickly rose through the ranks from terminal manager to vice president of operations with the corporate office in Richmond. In 1976, Thomas left Overnight to serve Kenan Transport as its VP of operations.

Thomas joined the Eagle family as president in 1984, and led the company until his retirement. He considered his tenure at Eagle one of the most rewarding times of his life, making lifelong friends as he helped build the company into a dynamic regional transporter.

“Although many of us may not have had the opportunity to work directly with John, we have benefited from those who have and enjoy the firm foundation he laid during his years of dedicated service,” said Lance Collette, Eagle president. “Our company and industry have lost a great leader, but his lasting impact will continue.”

Thomas also will be remembered as a compassionate leader, known for his professionalism and consistent leadership style. Even though he had been retired from Eagle for 20 years, his legacy continues to be present in the company’s organization today.

A celebration of life was held May 22 at Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home in Rocky Mount, N.C. A graveside service was conducted May 24 in Blue Ridge, Ga., under the care of Akins-Cobb Funerals & Cremations.

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