Thornton H. “Moo” Yancey ’46

Thornton Halliburton Yancey, 96, died peacefully at Granville Hospital on March 31, 2022.

“Moo” as everyone knew him, was born on August 16, 1925, to William Thornton and Laura Clement Yancey in Oxford, North Carolina. He graduated from Oxford High School in 1942 and attended Davidson College until he served his country during World War II in the US Coast Guard starting in August of 1943 as a radio technician. He returned from the war and enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill and graduated with a BA degree in English.

After college, he returned home to work in the family automotive business with his father and brother. While living in Oxford, he met Ruth Harover of Manchester, OH and they were happily married for 53 years until her death on December 26, 2006.

Moo was most fortunate in his life to have not only one great love but two. In May of 2009, he married Lynn Corbett Nelson of Clarksville, Virginia. They both had a passion for travel and took many trips together to Europe, South America, and the Middle East. In fact, Moo was able to travel to six of the seven continents, which was something that brought him a lot of joy.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Ruth, his brother Lindsay Clement Yancey and his wife Beth, and his half-brother William Thornton Yancey, Jr. and his wife Blanche.

Moo was a successful businessman and leader in his community. He was a member of the Oxford Baptist Church for more than 65 years and served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Trustee, and he also served as a Sunday School teacher. However, for the last 20 years, he attended the Oxford Presbyterian Church. Moo was Secretary and Treasurer of Yancey Chevrolet Buick and Co, Inc., for over 40 years. Moo and his brother Clement later opened Yancey Properties where he was fortunate to work side by side with his two sons, Gray and William.

Moo was President of both Oxford Kiwanis Club and Oxford Future Industries, which was proactive in bringing companies and jobs to the community. Moo was Vice President and Director of Central Orphanage, and Director of the Richard H. Thornton Library. He was past Chairman of the Board of Union National Bank as well as the Granville Savings and Loan. He was a Corporate Director of Southern National Bank and State Director for Branch Banking and Trust Co.

For more than 50 years, Moo enjoyed playing tennis with family and friends, and participated in tennis tournaments around the state of North Carolina. In 1982, he and son Gray won the State father-son doubles championship. His other interests included golf, building and renovating homes, jazz music and traveling the world. One of Moo’s many special gifts was his expert storytelling ability. He had an amazing arsenal of stories that were applicable to any situation, and he delivered them with just the right amount of humor.

Moo is survived by his wife Lynn Nelson Yancey, his three children Thornton Gray Yancey and wife Cynthia of Oxford, William Halliburton Yancey of Oxford, Laura Yancey Miralia and husband Tom of Charlotte, and their children Lillian Claire Miralia and John Thomas Miralia. He is also survived by his nephew Lindsay Clement Yancey, Jr. and wife Debbie of Winston Salem, and their two children.

A graveside service will be held on Monday, April 4, at 1:00pm at Elmwood Cemetery in Oxford.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Oxford Presbyterian Church, PO Box 652, Oxford, North Carolina 27565.

Arrangements are by Sossamon Funeral Home of Henderson. Online condolences may be made at

Published by The News & Observer on April 3, 2022.