The City of Mount Olive, the University of Mount Olive, the eastern region, and the State of North Carolina has lost a true and dear friend. George R. Kornegay, Jr., eighty years of age, entered into eternal life on Friday, November 21, 2014. He will be remembered as a passionate and thoughtful leader in addition to a dedicated public servant and philanthropist.
Kornegay attended Campbell Junior College and received an undergraduate degree and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He operated a law firm in the Mount Olive area for approximately 20 years. During the 1970’s, he along with two local doctors and two businessmen, built the first 150-bed nursing home in the area. In addition, they were able to build an assisted living facility in Mount Olive and a nursing home in Warsaw, NC. They also started 3HC (Home Health and Hospice).
A consummate force in economic development, Kornegay was active in the economic development of Wayne County for more than 25 years, and served as chairman of the Wayne County Economic Development Commission. He was instrumental in helping to create the Wayne County Development Alliance, a cooperative development organization involving county government and the local business community. This became a model for other counties in the state of North Carolina. He was also involved in the creation of an industrial park for the Mount Olive area.
A highly respected leader in the community, Kornegay became involved as a director and investor in the creation of several health care and real estate companies. He created The Kornegay Company, LLC, which developed a number of properties in the Wayne county area including two hotels in Mount Olive.
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A committed and generous supporter of the University of Mount Olive, Kornegay devoted much of his time and his resources to the University. It was his strong belief that the University plays an essential role in the development of eastern North Carolina. To that end, he worked tirelessly to help the University secure the resources necessary to fulfill its mission. Kornegay’s support of the University came in many forms: he had the vision to create the University of Mount Olive Foundation, he led the effort to acquire significant funding through the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program that enabled the University to construct three buildings on campus in 2005, and he made substantial gifts to the University. Kornegay Arena was named in memory of his parents. As the University has moved into its most recent capital campaign, Kornegay was one of the primary movers behind the initiative. His support for the University has been unmeasurable and his legacy is far reaching. In 2011, the University inducted Kornegay into the athletics hall of fame. In 2013, the University bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate degree, the highest honor given by the institution.
Albert Einstein’s quote, “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living,” is one that sums up the life of George R. Kornegay, Jr. His insightfulness and compassion are legacies that will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.
His life will be celebrated in a service to be held at the University of Mount Olive’s George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena at 11:00 in the morning, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. The ceremony will be led by Dr. John Blackwell, Dr. Dennis Draper, Rev. Russell Nanney and Rev. Carla Williamson. The family will receive friends at First United Methodist Church of Mount Olive on Monday, November 24, from 5-7 PM.
George’s surviving family includes his wife, Barbara Ross Kornegay; a sister, Doris K. Holland of Mount Olive; a daughter, Stephanie Kornegay and partner Tiffany Anselment of Mount Olive; a son and daughter-in-law Russ and Susie Kornegay of Charlotte, NC; a son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Cary Kornegay of Mount Olive; a stepdaughter and son in law, Kathryn and Conrad Buie of Raleigh; and a special family member, Robert Mewborn of Seven Springs. George is also survived by six grandchildren: George IV and McKinsey; Charlotte, Parker, Annabel and Jacob. Deceased family members include his parents, George R. and Annie Dail Kornegay; two sisters, Edna K. Brice, and Evelyn Kornegay; and Evelyn Mewborn, mother of Stephanie, Russell and Kevin.
A Tyndall service of Mount Olive. (www.tyndallfh.com)