ROCKY MOUNT — Henry Benton Thorpe, better known to thousands of North Carolinians as "Bo," died Saturday after an extended illness. He was 67. Pulling together some musicians, Thorpe started his first dance band in 1978, and over the years they played dates all over the country.
Today, the group is known as "Bo Thorpe and His Orchestra."
He and his musicians have played for five presidential and gubernatorial inaugural balls, the National Symphony Ball, the Atlanta Symphony, the Kentucky Colonel's Derby Ball and for the annual June German, a traditional dance held in Rocky Mount each spring. These dates were part of a schedule that included at least 60 appearances a year.
Thorpe recently turned his baton over to band member Rory Partin. Thorpe's last performance was New Year's Eve at the Blockade Runner hotel in Wilmington.
Before organizing a band, Thorpe was an investigative reporter and owner of a public relations firm.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Johnson Funeral Home on Sunset Avenue in Rocky Mount.
Thorpe is survived by his wife Sharon, two daughters and three sons.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, mourners make a donation to the charity of their individual choosing.