Yadkin County recently lost one of its most involved and service-minded citizens. Thomas Wooten, a long-time educator in the county school system, former county commissioner and active volunteer in a number of organizations, passed away on Nov. 4.
Wooten served as principal in several county schools for a total of 29 years. During his time in the county school system, he worked at East Bend High School, Fall Creek, Forbush and Courtney.
He also served as a county commissioner from 1988 to 2002. Wooten was involved in many groups in the county including the Ruritan Club. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and big proponent of economic development in the county.
“One of his largest contributions, in my opinion, was helping us establish our Leadership Yadkin County program,” said Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce Director Bobby Todd. “He served as the chairman of that committee for several years. He and I actually attended Piedmont Triad Leadership together in 1996 and we came back and started the local program. He actually spoke to this year’s class in October.”
Todd said Wooten was “an all-around good guy.” He said one of Wooten’s best traits was his ability to build others up.
“Thomas was always interested in building people up,” Todd said. “He was one of the kind of folks that found ways to get things done rather than find ways to prevent things from happening.”
Wooten was also very active with agencies and groups that supported senior citizens.
“He was a big advocate for the senior citizens in the county,” said his wife Mary. Wooten served with a legislative group that would make frequent trips to Raleigh to speak with local legislators on behalf of senior citizens. He was also active at the East Bend Senior Center, a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and served on the district and local councils on aging.
Mary Wooten said following a severe accident in 2005, which left her husband in the hospital and rehab for nearly six months, he wanted to find a way to help others.
“So many people were so good to him that he thought he needed to give back,” Mary Wooten said. “He just dedicated himself to senior citizens of the county.”
Wooten’s legacy will live on for years to come here in Yadkin County.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.