Kerry Curtis Doughty passed away March 17 following a brave battle with cancer. Doughty was the immediate past chairman of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) and the president and chief executive officer of Butterball until his departure from the company in December 2018.
Doughty attended classes at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ind., but soon joined Dura Containers, where he found his calling in sales.
Shortly after that, he followed his father into the food industry, eventually becoming a salesman for Midwest distribution.
In 1982, a call from Wilson Foods and subsequent employment began a series of increasingly responsible sales and marketing positions. In 1985, at the age of 32, Doughty won a prestigious Ring Club award from Wilson Foods. In 1986, he started as vice president of sales for Kretschmar Brands, St, Louis and in 1988, he became vice president of sales at Loveland Foods, in Loveland, Colo., where he sold Old Timer Bacon and Ham. In 1990, a call from a former mentor at Wilson Foods necessitated a move to Fast Food Merchandisers (FFM) (Hardee’s Food Systems) in Rocky Mount, N.C., where Doughty 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, establishing its offices in Brentwood, Tenn., in 1996. When Perdue Farms bought GolPak in 1998, Doughty stayed on 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, LLC as executive vice president of sales, marketing and research and development in 2007 and moved to the Raleigh, N.C., area.
Doughty was promoted to president and CEO of Butterball in 2014, where he remained until 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Most recently, as 2019 chairman of NTF, Doughty presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President and First Lady 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 NTF at its convention in February.
At Doughty’s request, a Celebration of Life will be held in Cary, N.C., and in Indianapolis; both at a later date in view of current events. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to: Racing for Cancer, 951 Queen Annes Road, Houston, TX 77024.