The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

November 17, 2008

Bourne gets things done for hometown

Tarboro man one of eight to be inducted into Twin County Hall of Fame

One in a series.

When Joe Bourne is inducted into the Twin County Hall of Fame Thursday night, the retired Tarboro attorney will tell everyone, “People give me more credit that I deserve.”

For the first time in five years, the induction ceremony will be in Tarboro at Edgecombe Community College’s Mobley Atrium and Keihin Auditorium. Eight individuals will be honored, including Bourne, who was born and raised in Tarboro.

“I was raised in a little house on St. David Street, the son of Mary Alston and Henry Clark Bourne,” recalled Bourne, 83.

His grandfather gave the speech when the Civil War monument was dedicated on the Town Common in 1904. His grandmother Mariah Toole Clark Bourne was president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Bourne graduated from Tarboro High School in 1942 and attended N.C. State University for a year before joining the U.S. Marine Corps in the middle of World War II.

He watched the bloody battle for Peleliu from a ship.

“We could see the fighting,” he said, “but they kept us in reserve.”

At Okinawa, he got ashore the second day.

“I unloaded ammo (as a member of MAG-33),” he said. “Very uneventful.”

At the Kadena air base, Cpl. Bourne was in charge of the ammo dump.

“I thought we were going to Japan,” he said, “but we came home in time for Christmas (in 1945).”

He spent the remainder of his enlistment at MCAS, Cherry Point.

Bourne worked on the family farm in the Kingsboro area for almost two years, worked in a sawmill, ran a country store and had fun riding a motorcycle.

“I think my mother worried about me,” he said. “I was wild. She fixed it for me to go to Alaska and work with the Episcopal Bishop there, Bill Gordon.”

After a summer working in Alaska, Bourne went to the University of North Carolina. When the term finished, he and three buddies climbed into Bourne’s 1949 Ford and drove nonstop to Alaska.

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