top of page

Create Your First Project

Start adding your projects to your portfolio. Click on "Manage Projects" to get started

Stancil, Donell

Donell Franklin Stancil was born on July 3, 1932 and grew up during the Great Depression on the family farm in the Glendale community northwest of Kenly. He was the youngest child of Alvin Roscoe Stancil and Esther Peedin Stancil. In April 1935 his father Alvin passed away leaving his mother to raise Donell and his older siblings.

Donell was a 1950 graduate of Glendale High School. He was the first member of his family to attend college; he graduated from N. C. State in 1955 with a degree in Agricultural Education. After completing his degree and student teaching, Donell returned home to follow his love of farming. In 1966 he married Lou Chauncey, a high school teacher from Pitt County. Lou took an active role in the farming operation. Their son Vann was born in 1973.

Donell had deep roots in northeastern Johnston County. He was proud to descend from generations of Johnston County farmers. Donell farmed with his brother Glenn, who was also a tobacco grader. They grew tobacco, corn, soybeans, and wheat; together they won numerous yield contests at the county and regional level. He was arguably most proud of three consecutive first place finishes by his son Vann in the Johnston County FFA Youth Tobacco Contest.

Donell believed in keeping meticulous records about his farming operation and life in general. This included information about farming practices and daily rainfall records as well as relevant events in the community, at church, or at N. C. State. Donell was no stranger to hard work - he was a hands-on farmer. He never wanted the latest and greatest equipment and didn’t mind getting dirty and sweaty out in the fields. His mantra for himself and others was “Get your work done first.” He encouraged others to look for something to do; he didn’t like to see folks standing around while others were working.

Donell enjoyed opportunities to serve with others in various positions. He was committed to doing his part even if he had already put in a full day’s work before an evening meeting. Donell served on the Johnston County Farm Bureau Board of Directors from 1953 to 2010 and was President from 1958 to 1959. He served as the Chairman of the Johnston County Extension Advisory Council in 1981. He served on the State Extension Advisory Council from 1987 to 1993. He received the Johnston County Agribusiness Council Award for distinguished service to agriculture in 1986. He was Chairman of the statewide Farm-City Week in 1986. He was one of four people from Johnston County honored by Governor Jim Martin in 1990 with the Governor’s Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award. He was named State Friend of Extension in 1992. He served on the USDA Flue-Cured Tobacco Advisory Committee from 1994 to 1996. He served on the Johnston County Farm-City Week committee for several years. He was the Johnston County representative on the NC Soybean Growers Association Board of Directors from 2000 to 2003. He was a member of the Board of Directors and served as President of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation at NCSU in 1983 and 1984.

Donell was always active in the Glendale community. He served as an elder and choir member at Center Ridge Presbyterian Church and was treasurer for 51 years from 1957 to 2008. Donell actively supported Glendale-Chapel Recreation; in 2007 the baseball field at Glendale was named Stancil Field in honor of Donell, his brother Glenn, and his nephew Cecil. He was a member of the first Board of Directors for the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and was a member of the local board of The Heritage Bank for 32 years. He always supported his alma mater and the Wolfpack Club. He attended the first basketball game played at Reynolds Coliseum and hundreds more.

Donell also did his part to ensure that his family’s history was preserved. He maintained the Stancil family cemetery for decades, made lemonade for family reunions, and kept the financial records for family reunions. When Donell and his brother Glenn purchased their great-grandfather’s farm, they made sure that the Boyette Slave and School House, a one room antebellum log cabin with a mud and stick chimney, was restored and preserved for future generations. This structure is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Donell was proud to be a Johnston County farmer. He was devoted to his family, his community, his church, his vocation, and his alma mater. He was a man of integrity who earned the respect of those who knew him. He passed away on February 15, 2016 at age 83. He is survived by his wife Lou, son Vann, daughter-in-law Amy, and grandchildren Andrew and Rebecca. His family started a scholarship in his name at North Johnston High School as a way to remember him and help young people in the community that meant so much to him. Donell Stancil’s legacy will live on through the many lives that he touched.

bottom of page