Tommy Lee Tate (“Newkirk”) was born August 3, 1945 in Wallace N.C. to the late Hannah Highsmith and William B. Newkirk. When Tommy was just a young child both of his parents passed away, he was then raised by a loving couple, Lily (“Ms. Sue”) and Willie Sykes. He departed this Earthly life on Tuesday April 25, 2023 at Duke Regional Hospital. Tommy grew up in Goldsboro N.C. and attended Central High School where he met Bertha Coley Tate (deceased). They married on July 20, 1968. To this union two children were born, Pam and Shawn.
Tommy attended his wife’s home church Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, and he became a member of St. Mark Church of Christ in his later years where he attended faithfully until his health would no longer allow.
Tommy spent most of his life in the trucking industry where he made many lifelong friends. Tommy’s occupation and passion for over 6 decades was driving long distance trucks working with companies such as; Kemp Furniture, Linde Products, and Archie Rose Trucking. Even starting his own trucking business “TLT Trucking”. Tommy had a loving heart and was known for helping others. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and was very proud of them. He took pride that his memory was sharp as a tack and could recite just about anyone’s phone number off the top of his head. He enjoyed watching the news and would often refer to himself as a “news freak”. His favorite meal to eat was cube steak with rice and gravy. For many of us Tommy has been a big part of our lives for all of our lives. He will definitely be dearly missed.
Tommy is preceded in death by his parents, son, Thomas LaShawn Tate, two brothers, James Willis Marshburn and Ricky Brown, two sisters, Patricia Newkirk Carlton and Diane Bell.
He leaves to cherish his memories, companion Earnestine Lewis of the home, daughter, Pamela Tate Ballentine of Raleigh, N.C., sister, Barbara Newkirk Horne of Upper Marlboro M.D., two honorary sons Craig and Tavarres Brown, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
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