Otto David Tharpe Jr., 81, passed away peacefully on April 23, 2021, at the Gordon Hospice House in Statesville, N.C., following a period of declining health.
Born in Statesville, on June 8, 1939, he was the eldest son of the late Clara Sykes Tharpe and Otto David Tharpe Sr. In addition to his parents, David was preceded in death by a younger brother, John Sykes Tharpe, in 2013.
David grew up putting his best foot forward, applying himself on every court and field. He played almost every sport offered to him and was eventually awarded a track and field scholarship to North Carolina State University, where he graduated with a degree in Pulp and Paper Technology. Upon graduation, he entered the United States Air Force, achieving the rank of First Lieutenant. While at NCSU, he met and later married his college sweetheart, Barbara Neil Gilliam of Greenville, N.C., on December 31, 1962.
David was an entrepreneur with a business mind that served him well throughout his career. Following his time in the Air Force, he began working as a Plant Manager for Rubbermaid Inc. In 1976, he bought into Gilbert Ready-Mix Concrete in Hickory, N.C.., and later acquired Concrete Supply of Hickory to form Gilbert Concrete Supply. In 1989, Gilbert Concrete Supply merged with Statesville Concrete Products to form American Concrete Products. In 1996, this company was sold to a Danish corporation, Unicon Concrete LLC. David continued to work as a merger and acquisitions advisor until his retirement in 2001. He and his team were able to grow the business in North and South Carolina with 17 ready-mix plants and three block plants.
During his career, he served as president of the Carolinas Ready-Mix Concrete Association, served as president of Statesville Kiwanis Club, and was a member of the Rotary Club of Hickory. He also served on the board of First Union National Bank for several years. David was a lifetime member of Broad Street United Methodist Church in Statesville.
Together, David and Barbara spent their weekends on Lake Norman and later on Kiawah Island, S.C. David was quite a dancer and he and Barbara shagged to beach music whenever they had the opportunity. Some of their best memories were of time spent with friends and family. Together they reared two boys, David Dirk Tharpe (Nancy) and Gilliam Brett Tharpe (Susan). David taught his boys the importance of finishing what you start, keeping your word, and taking care of others. Upon retirement, David shifted interests from the office to golfing and his five grandchildren, Gilliam, Reagan, Barr, Mary Neil, and Beckham. He was “Pops” to them and they wanted his undivided attention! Trips to the aquarium, the beach, Target, and the alligator farm were on their list and off they went!
David was a man of integrity. He was a loyal friend and confidant. He was the devoted husband, father, and grandfather. His laugh, hugs, and all of those words of wisdom will continue to live in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. Memorials may be made to Mitchell Community College, Clara S. Tharpe Mathematics Laboratory and to the Gordon Hospice House, as well as charity of donor’s choice.
The family extends their heartfelt appreciation to David’s nurse, Patti, Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County and the staff of the Gordon Hospice House. Thank you also to his caregiver, Trudy, and Sherri’s In-Home Care.
Troutman Funeral Home is serving the family.