Former president, CEO of Butterball Kerry Doughty dies

Former president and CEO of Butterball LLC, Kerry Curtis Doughty, 66, died March 17, 2020.

Courtesy Butterball
Courtesy Butterball

Former president and CEO of Butterball LLC, Kerry Curtis Doughty, 66, died March 17, 2020.

He was the oldest of six children born to Richard and Jeri Doughty on June 28, 1953, in Indianapolis.

He graduated from Thomas Howe High School in Indianapolis, and attended classes at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), but soon joined Dura Containers where he found his calling in sales. He then followed his father into the food industry, eventually becoming a salesman for Midwest Distribution. In 1982, he began employment at Wilson Foods in sales and marketing positions. In 1985, Doughty won a Ring Club award from Wilson Foods. In 1986, he started as vice president of sales for Kretschmar Brands in St. Louis and, in 1988, he took another vice president of sales position at Loveland Foods, in Loveland, Colorado, where he sold Old Timer Bacon and Ham. In 1990, he went to work at Fast Food Merchandisers (Hardee’s Food Systems) in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, 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. For GolPak, Doughty established offices in Brentwood, Tennessee, in 1996. Perdue Farms bought GolPak in 1998 and Doughty stayed with the company as director of food service sales. He was quickly promoted to vice president of food service sales. He remained with Perdue Farms in Brentwood until he joined Butterball as executive vice president of sales, marketing and R&D in 2007. In May 2014, he was promoted to president and CEO of Butterball, where he remained until 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Doughty attended executive development programs at Northwestern University, McGill University, University of North Carolina and University of Virginia. In addition, his responsibilities took him all over the U.S. and to every continent except Australia.

He served on board positions including the American Heart Association-Triangle Heart Walk, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the North American Meat institute, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and the National Turkey Federation (NTF). In 2018, he was the recipient of the Urner Barry Poultry Person of the Year.

Most recently, as 2019 chairman of the NTF, Doughty presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President during the pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. At the completion of his term, Doughty was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the NTF at its convention in Nashville on February 15, 2020.

Doughty is survived by his wife, Jan Doughty; three children, Brooke (Daniel) Huber, Devin (Ashley) Doughty, and Reece (Stephanie) Doughty; two grandsons, Noah and Owen Huber; three sisters, Sherry (Kelly) Beck, Stacy Doughty-Hall, and Kelly Sue (Brian) Rapp; and one brother, Bill (Susan) Doughty.

He was preceded in death by his father, Richard; mother, Jeri; and sister, Teresa Doughty.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Cary, North Carolina, and in Indianapolis at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Racing for Cancer, 951 Queen Annes Road, Houston, TX 77024.

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