GARNER, N.C. – Kerry Curtis Doughty, former president and chief executive officer of Butterball LLC and the immediate past chairman of the National Turkey Federation, died on March 17 after a battle with cancer. He was 66 years old.
Doughty’s career in the industry started in 1982 at Wilson Foods. After serving in a series of increasingly responsible sales and marketing positions, he received the prestigious Ring Club award from the company in 1985. A year later, he was named vice president of sales for Kretschmar Brands in St. Louis and in 1988, he became vice president of sales at Loveland Foods, in Loveland, Colo., where he sold Old Timer brand bacon and ham.
In 1990, Doughty started working for Fast Food Merchandisers (FFM) (Hardee’s Food Systems) in Rocky Mount, NC, where he was vice president of customer service, then vice president of international sales and senior vice president of sales for GolPak, the manufacturing subsidiary of FFM, establishing its offices in Brentwood, Tenn. Doughty remained with the company as director of foodservice sales after Perdue Farms acquired GolPak in 1998 and was quickly promoted to vice president of foodservice sales. He remained with Perdue Farms in Brentwood until he joined Butterball as executive vice president of sales, marketing, and research and development in 2007. He then relocated to the Raleigh, NC, area.
Doughty was promoted to president and CEO of Butterball in 2014, a position he held until 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer.
As 2019 chairman of the NTF, Doughty presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during the annual pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. In February, NTF awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award to Doughty at the end of his term.
Doughty is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jan Doughty and three children, Brooke Huber (Daniel) of Zionsville, Ind., Devin Doughty (Ashley) of Henderson, Nev., and Reece Doughty (Stephanie) of Los Angeles and two grandsons, Noah and Owen Huber. Other survivors include three sisters and one brother: Sherry Beck (Kelly) of Indianapolis, Bill Doughty (Susan) of Coopersville, Mich., Stacy Doughty-Hall of Nashville, Ind., and Kelly Sue Rapp (Brian) of Gainesville, Fla. He was predeceased by his father, Richard (2005), mother, Jeri (2019), and sister, Teresa Doughty (2016).
At his request, a celebration of life ceremony will be held in Cary, NC, and in Indianapolis; both at a later date in view of current events. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to: Racing for Cancer, 951 Queen Annes Road, Houston, TX 77024.