D. Jones "Doc" Thurston, Jr. (1908- 1993)
Entrepreneur, transportation executive, engineer and philanthropist, Doc Thurston built a very successful transportation business from humble beginnings in the Great Depression.
Doc J. Thurston Jr. was born in 1908 in Clayton, NC, to Jessie Jenkins Thurston and Doc Jones Thurston Sr. He entered
the Unviersity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1925 at the age of 16.
Unsure of his career choice, he left the University two years later. He and three friends
took a western trip and Doc spent six months working in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Texas,
as well as a salesman. After returning to North Carolina, he spent two years working with his father in the lumber business. In 1929, he entered the UNC School of Engineering.
In 1932, he graduated cum laude receiving a B.S. in electrical engineering. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
With the country mired in the Great Depression, Thurston was unable to find work as an engineer. He created his own employment -- Thurston Motor Lines, Inc. As the country came out of the depression, he was offered an engineering job but declined because he felt that the motor carrier industry had promise in the future of our nation.
Doc often represented his industry at the local, state and national levels. Recognized employees’ needs, he implemented profit-sharing, pensions, health care and educational programs long before they became expected in the industry.
In 1968, he founded Thurston Aviation, Inc., a charter service and plane dealership to cater to the growing extensive corporate travel market.
Following his retirement and sale of the businesses in 1979, Thurston devoted time and financial support to his church, higher education and medical research, especially at his alma mater.
His contributions to the UNC School of Medicine included a named laboratory for his mother at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, gene therapy, and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. In 1989, the School of Medicine presented him with the Distinguished Service Award.
Doc Jones Thurston Jr. died in 1993.
Doc Thurston was married to Stella Rutledge Thurston.
Doc J. Thurston, Jr.