Former High Point Mayor Roy B. Culler, Jr, age 95, one of High Point’s most revered former leaders and a life-long resident of this city, died peacefully on October 16th at Pennybyrn. He formerly resided on Westwood Drive, but moved to Pennybyrn in 2008.
Roy was born on May 1, 1925 to Roy B. and Iola Davis Culler. He attended local schools, followed by Hargrave Military Academy and Georgia Military Academy (now Woodward Academy). After graduation he entered the US Army Air Corp. during World War II and served in the Pacific as part of a B-29 Squadron on Guam until the war ended. Following discharge from the Air Corp he married Dorothy Pegram of High Point on June 8, 1946 and they were happily married for 74 years. She survives him at Pennybyrn.
After their marriage they moved to Wake Forest, NC where Roy attended what was then Wake Forest College. He graduated in three years with a degree in business.
Upon his return to High Point, he entered the furniture business with his father, and later with his brother Bob. In 1959, following the death of his father, he assumed the role of President of National Upholstery Co, HiLite of High Point, and later Colony Craft Furniture of Denton, NC. In 1972 the three companies were sold to Burlington Industries.
Roy, by that time, had also become involved in local government and was elected to the High Point City council in 1962. He was always proud of the fact that he was the second generation of the Culler family to serve as an elected official of the City of High Point. His father, Roy B. Culler, Sr., served from 1949 to 1951. Roy served 21 years as a member of City Council and 11 years as Mayor of High Point. He served as Mayor for three consecutive terms from 1975 to 1981 and later for two additional terms from 1987 until resigning from the office in 1992.
Over those 21 years of public service his primary focus was a genuine concern for the betterment of High Point and its citizens. He played a very active and vital role in bringing the Convention Center complex to High Point; the completion of Oak Hollow Lake and Golf Course; Blair Park Golf Course and Club House; developmental projects and committees involved in the proposed Library; Watershed Protection Ordinance, Flow Control Ordinance and Solid Waste Management plan; negotiations, location development and construction of Elm Towers and Morehead Towers; Southside development and improvements; and many other projects.
During his tenure as Mayor in the early 1980’s the annexation of the Oakview/Oak Hollow area took place, and he initiated dialogue with other counties (Guilford, Davidson, Forsyth) regarding future annexations. The city expanded to Skeet Club Rd; Hwy 68 expanded to Wendover and the Piedmont Center. The Radisson Hotel was built, the city instituted use of the Mobile Totter and the Recycling Center became a reality. The Senior Center was established (he was honored that it was later dedicated and named the Roy B. Culler, Jr. Senior Center), the new Library was completed, the committee was formed to plan the now open 311 Bypass, a venture was begun (with other cities) to acquire a nuclear power plant, and those are just a few of the many accomplishments.
Roy also contributed significantly to government organizations on both state and national levels. He was actively involved as a Member of the National League of Cities and served on the Executive Committee and as a member of the Community Development Committee. In addition, he served as Chairman of the FAIR Committee (Finance, Administration & Intergovernmental Relations) responsible for developing policy positions on issues involving national economic policy, general financial assistance programs, liability insurance, intergovernmental relations, census, municipal bonds and capital finance.
On the state level, Roy was Chairman of the North Carolina Power Agency No. 1 Board of Commissioners from January 1976 through April 1982. During his tenure as chairman, he served as ex-officio member of all power agency committees. In 1978, he was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt to serve as a member of the North Carolina Local Government Advocacy Council.
He served as President of Electricities of North Carolina, Inc and also as District 9 Director and First Vice-President of the North Carolina League of Municipalities. He was regarded as an expert in the affairs of municipal government while always looking out for the people who elected him.
Roy was an active member of the Institute of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served numerous times – too numerous to count – on programs designed for newly elected Mayors and Members of City Council as well as programs dealing with the Council-Manager form of government. He contributed much to all programs sponsored by the Institute and always served willingly when called upon.
Roy was a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s most prestigious civilian award.
He served on the Boards of Trustees of Wake Forest University and Guilford Technical Community College, Board of Governors of Wingate College, Chairman of the Board of the NC Power Agency, Board Member of Southern Furniture Market Center (now the International Home Furnishings Center) as well as the High Point School Board. He served as a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and was elected as an honorary Life-Time Member of the Jaycees. He was also a member of the Rotary Club.
He was named High Point’s Citizen of the Year for 1981.
A member of Emerywood Baptist Church for many years, he was a member of the Adult Sunday School Class and a past chairman of the church’s Board of Deacons. He also served as Sunday School Superintendent, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and taught Sunday School at various times throughout the years. He was a former member of Green Street Baptist Church. He was a Master Mason and a past Master of Acacia Lodge.
Roy & Dot enjoyed dancing! He was a member of the Debon-Aire Dance Club and was always happy to furnish the music for club dances. He was also a member of Emerywood Country Club. Roy relished the time spent at his farm; he loved working in the yard and spent many enjoyable hours at the farm along with other members of his family. He also had homes in North Myrtle Beach and Blowing Rock where he and Dot spent many hours enjoying the beach or the mountains and working in the yard.
In addition to his wife, Roy is survived by two sons, R. Braxton III (Ashley) and Robert R. “Randy” (Heidi) both of High Point, one daughter Dorothy Gayle of Charlottesville, VA. and daughter-in-law, Amy Grimes Culler of High Point. A son, David Scott Culler, preceded him in death. He leaves six grandchildren; Kimberly Culler Combs, R.B. “Brack” Culler IV (Caroline), John Rochelle “Josh” Culler, Robert R. Jr “Skip” Culler (Nicole), John B. Culler, and Katie Culler Bennett; ten great-grandchildren: Ashley Anne and Culler Combs, Quinn, Gloria, and Libby Culler, Gabby, Lulu and Bo Culler, Wilhelmina and Lucia Bennett. Two sisters, Iris Culler Creech and Mary Lou Culler Metcalf preceded him in death. He is also survived by a brother, Robert Alan Culler (Barbara) of High Point.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to Pennybyrn at Maryfield, 109 Penny Road, High Point, NC 27260, or to Baptist Children’s Homes of NC (Culler Cottage), PO Box 338, Thomasville, NC 27361-0338.
A private graveside service will be held for family members.
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