Frank ‘Tot’ Tothill, 97, a resident of High Point, died November 2, 2018, at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.
Frank was born in Washington, DC, December 15, 1920, the son of the late R. Francis and Martha Tothill.
The family moved to Roanoke, VA, where Frank grew up, graduated from Jefferson High School, and married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Woods, who is the mother of Frank’s three children.
When WWII began, Frank joined the USAir Corp (which later became the US Air Force); entering flight schools at Hicks Field and Majors Field in Texas; later to Bruning, Nebraska. His instructor’s advice: “When you get into the cockpit -you strap the plane to your body and fly where you want to go.” Frank never forgot that advice. As a pilot, he was assigned to the Pacific Theater, leading squadrons into combat over Japan; leading escort missions over targets of opportunity; one of those missions included flying escort for the dropping of the Atomic Bomb.
After the war, Frank returned to Roanoke and discovered an interest and talent in the chemical business; going to work with Johnsons Wax. He then moved his family to Winston-Salem when he began work at Reliance Universal in High Point, developing color coatings for the furniture industry. While living in Winston-Salem, Frank, Margaret, and their three children began a relationship and love for Home Moravian Church, in which all of the family became involved. His first wife, Margaret, passed away January 17, 1966, leaving Frank as a single father raising three children.
The Lilly Company in High Point became the next stop, where he became VP of Marketing and Sales and a member of the corporate board of directors. He had an extraordinary career in building relationships with most of the Furniture Manufacturing Companies in NC, SC, and VA. He was respected in Presidents’/Executive offices for consultation as well as advisor on the product line with the workers, showing them how to implement the best coating operational processes.
On November 14, 1981, Frank married Nancy Matheson, and together they began a journey through the next passage in his life.
After retiring from Lilly in 1987, Frank became a consultant to many furniture companies, sharing advice on design and color, traveling often to Asia to assist there. His reputation of knowledge and integrity preceded him.
Later in life, Frank was re-acquainted with his fighter group buddies in the 507th Fighter Group Association. He along with his wife, Nancye, have been writing the quarterly newsletters “Poop of the Group” for the Fighter Group for over 15 years. The first ten years of newsletters were consolidated into a book, The 507th Compilation of Newsletters which currently resides on the shelves of the Library of Congress. A member of “The Greatest Generation”, he was on the first Flight of Honor to Washington, DC on October 3, 2009; received numerous honors from both the furniture industry and from the military.
Frank was known as a mentor to those with whom he worked and a minister to those in the 507th Fighter Group Association, and a friend to all who knew him.
Frank was pre-deceased by his parents, a brother and sister, and his first wife.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy of 36 years; three children: Allen (Sandy) Tothill, Jim (Karol) Tothill, Marcy (Fred) Vance; grandchildren: Brooke T. Newton, Rachel (Brian) Hill, Kyle (Erica) Tothill, Tyler Vance and fiancé Lindsey Smith, Dwayne (Stephania) Dottin; seven great-grandchildren: Wade and Davis Newton, Ethan and Elise Hill, Sydney, Jamison, and Woods Tothill; Rose Maner, and Sir Prince of Tothill.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30a.m. on Friday, November 9, 2018, at the First United Methodist Church, 512 North Main Street, High Point, NC. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 9:30-10:15a.m. Reverend Debra Swing will officiate and Wesley Hudson will provide music.
In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the Television Ministry of First United Methodist Church; Patriot Rovers, 8001 Clinard Farms Road, High Point, NC 27265; or Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC 27262.
Television Ministry of First United Methodist Church
512 N. Main St., High Point NC 27260
8001 Clinard Farms Road, High Point NC 27265
Hospice of the Piedmont
1801 Westchester Drive, High Point NC 27262