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A true tobacco man

South Boston native Roger Jackson Eggleston, a true tobacco man, was memorialized at the Kenbridge Tobacco Museum this summer following his untimely death on March 17 of this year. He was 55.

His mother, Norma Murphy Eggleston, who lives in South Boston, stopped by the office last week to tell us of the memorial to her son at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum.

Roger, the youngest of three brothers, inherited his love for the tobacco heritage having had deep family roots in the industry.

He along with his brothers, Tommy and Jim, and their dad, Thomas Brice Eggleston Sr., were all proud tobacconists.

His father was a leaf buyer, leaf supervisor and plant manager of Southern Processors tobacco.

Being a part of this family of tobacconists was meaningful to Roger.

After graduating from Tusculum College, he went to work for Universal Leaf Tobacco Company.

He would become a world traveler executing business in Italy, India, the Phillipines, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

He was put in charge of the border belt area, western Kentucky territory, and then he oversaw the Tobacco Farming Partnering Program.

In the mid-1990s he went to work as a leaf manager for Philip Morris USA, a job he held until late 2011.

The museum’s memorial describes Roger as “an excellent judge of tobacco,” and someone “always willing to teach those willing to learn about the crop.”

A tribute written by Mary Clayton Eggleston states: “He believed that his knowledge of tobacco was a gift given to him. He was a Marlboro tobacco “flavor” commercial overseas. Regardless of negative societal comments, he was incredibly honored to be in the tobacco industry. He felt that the tobacco industry was one of the best.

“Roger was optimistic, fun-loving, comical and never without words. He was fair-minded, confident and dedicated to his profession. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing as often as possible. He had a true love for three things: tobacco, guns and beagle dogs. He was successful in his business endeavors, and he had fun while working. 

“Roger certainly left his footprint in the tobacco industry, and he will be greatly missed by all.”

And he is especially missed by his mom, who said, “No matter what came up, he was always there for me.”