JAMES LOUIS MAXWELL, JR.
Louis Maxwell was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in January 1927, the youngest of two children. He graduated from Goldsboro School in 1944 and attended Davidson College. After a year and a half in the Navy, at the end of World War II, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce. He married the former Mary Ann Jeffreys in 1952 and they had four children, three daughters and a son Louis and Mary Ann are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.
Founded in 1916 by his grandfather, Goldsboro Milling Company has been a part of Louis' life since birth. Originally, Goldsboro Milling produced corn meal and grits, and later poultry, hog and dairy feeds under the Diamond Feeds brand. Most of these products were distributed through wholesale grocers and "country stores." Early on, Louis made the rounds of customers as a salesman of Diamond Feeds.
The story goes that Louis earned the admiration of other employees and customers because he worked harder than anyone, was scrupulously honest, and was respectful of everyone with whom he came in contact. This admiration continues to this day, having now become earned respect, not only from his employees, but his contemporaries in the business and political communities of our state.
At the young age of 53, Big Louis, as his father was affectionately known, passed away leaving Louis and his uncles, john and Gordon Sr., to pursue the business. Both uncles soon retired, and Louis and Billy Shepard continued to serve as salesmen, office managers, feed millers and anything else needing to be done.
Louis Maxwell will tell you he and Billy Shepard convinced his uncles to let them try chickens, hogs, turkeys or anything else that might provide income; because the feed business was drying up and they had mouths to feed. He will also tell you they failed in some of these endeavors. But, with some advice from Marvin Johnson, the turkey business stuck.
Goldsboro Milling Company and its related companies have become one of the largest fully integrated turkey operations in the world, employing 3,500 associates. In partnership with Smithfield Foods, Goldsboro Milling produces over 450 million pounds of turkey products and over 325 million pounds of hogs. In addition, the company is a major landowner in North Carolina and Florida and has extensive timber interests.
Though still fully active in the business, Louis does hunt a little more, fish a little more, and try to shave a stroke or two off his golf game. The third generation with Louis' cousin, Gordon, and the fourth generation with his son and sons-in-law, along with Gordon's son-in-law are continuing the company’s growth on a day-to-day basis. Though involvement in local civic affairs has slowed in recent years, Louis is still recognized as an important voice and participant in the continued welfare and growth of Goldsboro and Wayne County.
Louis Maxwell's greatest assets are his vision, his honesty, and his understanding of human frailties. His family, friends, peers and business associates alike know him on a straightforward basis Â· what you see is what he is.
In honor of his numerous contributions to the growth and development of North Carolina':; Poultry Food Industry, the Officers and Directors of the North Carolina Poultry Federation are proud and pleased to induct James Louis Maxwell, jr. into the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame.
August 20, 1999