2019 NC Debutante Ball leaders announced

RALEIGH – The Terpsichorean Club of North Carolina announced Friday the Chairman of the 2019 North Carolina Debutante Ball along with the Ball Leader and Honorary Chair. The Debutante Ball will be held on Friday, September 6 at Meymandi Concert Hall. The Chairman of this year’s Ball is James Curtis McCaskill. McCaskill and his committee, along with the Girls Committee, are in charge of planning and organizing the events associated with the 93rd annual Ball weekend.

The Terpsichorean Club has selected Miss Mary Suiter Ragland to serve as the Leader of the Debutante Ball. She will be escorted by her father as well as McCaskill.

Ragland is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Trent Ragland III of Raleigh. She is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Trent Ragland, Jr. of Raleigh and the late Mr. Lucius Rives Taylor, Jr. of Weldon and Mrs. Lucius Rives Taylor, Jr. of Raleigh. She has one brother, Mr. William Trent Ragland IV, of Raleigh.

Ragland graduated from Saint Mary’s School where she was an active member of the school’s community. She played on the varsity lacrosse and field hockey teams and was the captain of both squads. She also served as Chief Marshall, Captain of the Student Ambassadors, and Boarding Prefect at Saint Mary’s. Ragland is currently a sophomore at N.C. State and is a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority. She spent the summer working as a children’s camp counselor at the Coral Bay Club.

Ragland’s father, William Trent Ragland III, is a Raleigh native and graduated from N.C. State. He is the owner of Ragland Properties Inc. and also serves as Chairman of the W. Trent Ragland, Jr. Foundation, established by his father in 1959. The foundation has supported, and continues to support, numerous organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Raleigh Rescue Mission, United Way, Meals on Wheels and Hospice.

Ragland’s mother, Wes Taylor Ragland, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, and she served on the board of the N.C. Museum of History Associates. Mrs. Ragland has also volunteered her time to many local organizations including Saint Mary’s, Ravenscroft, Saint Savior’s Center, WakeMed Hospital, and the Carolina Ballet.

Ragland has extensive ties to the North Carolina Debutante Ball dating back to the 1940s. Her paternal grandmother, Anna Wadsworth Wood Ragland, was a debutante in 1941 and served as Honorary Chair of the ball in 1974. Miss Ragland’s mother and maternal grandmother, Mary Royall Joyner Taylor, were debutantes in 1985 and 1956, respectively. Her aunt, Anna Wood Ragland, was the Leader of the Ball in 1965 and her aunt, Alice McKenzie Ragland, made her debut in 1969. Both her father and her grandfather were also members of the Terpsichorean Club.

There will also be eight Assistant Leaders from across the state. They are:

  • Miss Olivia Dell Bledsoe of Hickory, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Evan Bledsoe
  • Miss Anna Margaret Boyette of Fayetteville, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Hamilton Boyette, Sr. Miss
  • Elizabeth Wrightson Efird of Gastonia, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hoyle Timothy Efird II
  • Miss Caroline Jourdan Folger of Oxford, daughter of Mr. Frank Wilkinson Folger and Mrs. Caroline Stovall
  • Folger Miss Margaret Eason McLawhorn of Charlotte, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Herman McLawhorn
  • Miss Georgia Elizabeth Sanders of Washington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Hugh Sanders
  • Miss Evie Williams Kirkpatrick Sugg of Pinehurst, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Russell Sugg, Jr.
  • Miss Tatum Teer-Barutio of Durham, daughter of Mr. Daniel Robert Barutio and Ms. Kristin Elizabeth Teer

Mrs. George Tudor Thornhill III, (nee Carol Cooper Anderson), has been chosen by the Terpsichorean Club to be the Honorary Chair of the Debutante Ball. The club elects an honorary chairman each year in recognition of civic contributions made to the Raleigh community and to the state of North Carolina. As Honorary Chair, Mrs. Thornhill will be a special guest at the Debutante Ball and all the functions surrounding it. She will host a luncheon for the mothers of the debutantes at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh on Friday, September 6th, prior to the Ball that evening.

Thornhill is a native of Raleigh. She graduated from Needham Broughton High School and Salem College where she received a BA in Biology. In 1969, she married George Tudor Thornhill III with whom she has a daughter, Carol Cooper Thornhill, and a son, George Tudor Thornhill IV, as well as 2 grandchildren.

Over the years, Mrs. Thornhill has volunteered her time to many organizations. She is actively involved with the Rex Healthcare Guild where she held multiple prior offices. Additionally, she has served as a board member for many local boards including the Junior League of Raleigh, Museum of History Associates, and Hilltop Home for Children.

Thornhill has many connections to the North Carolina Debutante Ball. She made her debut in the 1966 North Carolina Debutante Ball, and she served as the Chairman of the Girls Committee in 1985. Her husband and her son were both members of the Terpsichorean Club and her daughter was the Leader of the Ball in 1996.