Ronnie Parker, Owner Of Ronnie’s Country Store, Dies At Age 70

Ronnie’s Country Store Facebook Photo

FOUR OAKS – Ronnie Parker passed away Wednesday, January 4 at UNC Johnston Health in Smithfield following a brief battle with cancer. He was 70.

Born October 1, 1952 in Johnston County he was a son of the late Coolidge and Julia Barefoot Parker. Ronnie was in the first graduating class of South Johnston High School. After completing high school in 1970, he proudly served his country in the United States Navy.

He was a lifetime farmer and the owner and operator of Ronnie’s Country Store in Four Oaks.

Ronnie’s Country Store Facebook Photo

In 1976, Ronnie began raising tobacco, soybeans, corn, cows, and hogs in addition to truck farming with Howard and Willie Hockaday. Ronnie and his wife Karen were married in February of 1982 and she supported the family working in the medical profession with Horizon Family Medicine for many years. During this time, Ronnie got his start in the wholesale business.

On November 1, 1984, Ronnie opened his first two-bay service station in Four Oaks providing automotive services, gasoline, and tires. In time, the location was expanded as Ronnie began to offer tractor tires and purchased a service truck. Ronnie maintained the location for 12 years until I-95 road construction forced the Keen Road location to close for demolition and make way for the current location at US701 / Exit 90 off I-95. In the early 2000s, Ronnie transitioned from a 4,000 square foot facility to his current 9,600 square foot storefront and 7,200 square foot tire shop. The business now provides fuel from non-highway diesel to non-ethanol gasoline and tires for golf carts to tractors, to implement tires.

Ronnie’s Country Store is a cornerstone for area farmers and residents carrying clothing, shoes, hats, knives, local specialty foods, hardware, garden supplies, hay, as well as groceries. Ronnie returned to farming when the new store was built and tended 50 acres of corn, melons, squash, cucumbers, onions, peas, and more. These items are purchased from the store when in season.

Ronnie’s Country Store Facebook Photo

Ronnie was also known for his Hershey’s ice cream. He was awarded the Gold Scoop Award, selling over 300 gallons of ice cream per week in the summertime.

Ronnie and his family were recognized by Johnston County Cooperative Extension during the 2021 Farm City Week Banquet. Ronnie was very well known and loved in his community. He was known for his generosity.

He was featured by WRAL’s Tarheel Traveler, Scott Mason, in November 2022.

Ronnie’s Country Store Facebook Photo

Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, 2023 in the chapel of Parrish Funeral Home with Rev. Sherwood Lassiter officiating. Burial will follow in Juniper Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Monday evening at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma.

Surviving are his wife of 40 years, Karen Parker; daughters, Kasey Thorne and husband Brad of Benson and Kelly Thornton and husband Justin of Four Oaks; brother, Stacey Freeman Parker and longtime partner, Ann Parker of Four Oaks; sister, Libbie Barefoot and husband Preston of Four Oaks; granddaughter, Karlee Parker; and his two canine companions, Sparky and Rooster.

Flowers are appreciated or memorial contributions may be sent to the American Cancer Society, https://donate3.cancer.org/, or https://donate.spcawake.org/.

According to their Facebook page, Ronnie’s Country Store will be closed at 12 Noon Monday, Jan. 9th and all day, Tuesday, January 10th.

6 COMMENTS

  1. we lost a good man to cancer a man who was looked up too and respected a man who worked hard for everything he earned and very proud of it too a man who will always be remembered as a JOCO MAN

  2. Awwwwwwwwwwwww. This is sad news. Although I never met him personally, his store was a frequent stop for me as I worked as a Home Hospice nurse and was on the road all day. My prayers go to the family at this time.

  3. Ronnie mot only was my boss back in 2002-2003 when I went to work for him and again at his new store. He was also my dear friend. I’m saddened by his passing beyond words. I can’t say enough about him but to know him is to love him. I have the Up most respect for this man. He was good to me and my family and was a huge part of our community. People came from all around to get the best sweet coen and home grown vegetables that he grew himself and were by far the best I ever put in my mouth. He cooked homemade soup and chicken pastry with his fried cornbread for his staff as well as his customers. He was a gond man who was always willing to help others. I will be forever grateful to have had the privilege to have met and become part of Ronnies Country store and part of his family as he treated me like I was. At Ronnies we use to call ourselves “Ronnies girls” as we were. I took pride in my job and did my job to the fullest to uphold the reputation it built for itself. It will always be known as Ronnies Country Store but to me it was more than that it was home it’s where I belonged and was meant to be. I’ll forever miss my job that I had to leave because of my car accident but mostly I’m going to forever in my heart miss the man who built this incredible successful family owned business from the ground up! I love you Ronnie Parker and my hearts broken by the loss of you. Thank you for the many years I got to spend with you and your family I will never forget you!😪💔❤🙏

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