The obituaries in the Thursday, July 2, 2009, edition of The Wilson Times list the passing on Sunday of Thomas Lofton Sr. An educator and coach for more than three decades, Lofton's influence on the Wilson athletic community was considerable.
He coached Darden High School to the N.C. High School Athletic Conference state football championship in 1964. This was during the segregation era. After integration, Lofton moved over to Fike where he later became the assistant principal. He ended his career as principal at Elvie Street Elementary School. He was inducted into the Darden Alumni Hall of Fame last year.
His wife, Yvonne, was my second-grade teacher at B.O. Barnes Elementary in 1973-74.
There's no telling how many young people's lives Mr. Lofton impacted during his career. Certainly his tenure at Darden and Fike helped make for a smoother transition during the uneasy period from segregated schools to integration.
Thoughts and prayers go out to his family for the loss of Mr. Lofton.