2-21-2023 – Jim Broyhill, congressman and son of furniture mogul, dies at 95

Posted on: February 21st, 2023 by admin No Comments


February 21 2023





LENOIR — James “Jim” Thomas Broyhill, a scion of the Broyhill Furniture business in Lenoir and longtime North Carolina Republican congressman who served in the U.S. Senate, died in the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 18 at Arbor Acres retirement home in Winston-Salem. According to his son, Ed, he had suffered from congestive heart failure for years that worsened in recent months.


Broyhill was born August 19, 1927 in Lenoir. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1950, according to his official congressional biography. His father, J.E. Broyhill, began the family’s furniture dynasty in 1926 as the Lenoir Chair Company and was a well-known Republican in his own right.


“The whole family is extraordinary, and Jim was extraordinary in his own right,” said Dr. John Thuss, a local veterinarian who has served the community for many years and former member of the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners. “He was always trying to be a good representative for the people in this county and this area of the state. He was a true public servant in the truest sense of the word. That was his entire life. He was a genuinely nice person. His family was involved in a lot of things in Caldwell County … I really am just in awe of all of them.”


Broyhill served as the president of the Lenoir Chamber of Commerce in 1956 and 1957, chaired the Caldwell County Blood Drive in 1957, and was named “Young Man of the Year for Lenoir and Caldwell County” in 1957 by the Lenoir Jaycees. He was vice-chairman of the Furniture and Plywood Council of the NC Forestry Association from 1955 to 1962 and was a member of the Lenoir Aviation Club. He was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Lenoir where he taught Sunday School and was a member of the choir.


Broyhill’s Capitol Hill career began with a U.S. House of Representatives victory in 1962, when he was the first Republican to be elected in his district in the 20th century. During his 23 years’ tenure in the House, he represented one-third of the state’s counties. He was respected by members of both parties both in his district and among his colleagues. Because of this, he was effective in legislative accomplishments and advocating for his constituents.


He received the I. E. Ready Award by the NC Community College System for Outstanding work for the Community College system. He was inducted into the North Carolina Republican Party Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame. The Lenoir, North Carolina Post Office and a section of US 321 between Hickory and Blowing Rock, NC are named in his honor.


He has received an Honorary Doctor of Law from Catawba College, Honorary Degree of Associate in Arts from Richmond Community College, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, and the North Carolina Award in the field of public service, the highest civilian award given by the state.


“Being here in Lenoir growing up, I knew all the family and Senator Broyhill very well,” said Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons. His father, Robert A. Gibbons, was mayor of Lenoir while Broyhill was in office. The two were good friends, said Gibbons.


“I appreciate Senator Broyhill during my own time as mayor,” Gibbons added. “He was great to offer advice and mentorship to me. We’re happy and proud of all the things he did here while he was in office.”


Broyhill was particularly proud of his part in establishing and preserving the over 330 mile long Overmountain Victory Trail as part of the U.S. Historic Trails System, in memory of the patriots who marched along the trail to defeat the British in the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain on October 7, 1780.


According to his obituary, Broyhill enjoyed golfing, singing, and reading, especially of American History. His mind remained sharp, and he rarely missed an episode of Jeopardy! He is survived by his wife, Louise, of 71 years, as well as his two children, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.


“There have been so many things that Mr. Broyhill and the Broyhill family have done for this community,” Gibbons said. “He’ll be sorely missed.”


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