The North Carolina Bar Foundation held its Winter Dedication ceremony on Thursday, December 5, at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary. Photos from the day’s events can be viewed on the North Carolina Bar Foundation’s Facebook page and a video of the event can be accessed here.
Executive Director Jason Hensley presided. Program participants included President LeAnn Nease Brown of Chapel Hill and long-time Foundation volunteer Heather Culp of Charlotte.
NCBF Endowment Justice Funds were dedicated in memory of A. William “Bill” Kennon formerly with Kennon Craver in Durham, and in honor of James W. Narron with Narron Wenzel in Smithfield and Elizabeth L. Quick with Womble Bond Dickinson in Winston-Salem. The Foundation’s first Lawyer Impact Fund made possible by High Point attorney, James F. Morgan was also recognized during the afternoon ceremony attended by more than 100 family, colleagues and friends.
The Kennon Justice Fund was introduced by Rhodes Carver, managing partner of Kennon Craver of Durham and long-time colleague of Bill. The Narron Justice Fund was introduced by John W. Mason of Asheville on behalf of the family and Narron Wenzel law firm. The Quick Justice Fund was introduced by Edward W. Griggs of Womble Bond Dickinson and Betty’s son Robert representing the family.
About the Funds and our Endowment
A Justice Fund is a named Endowment Fund established with a minimum gift of $50,000 directed toward the Foundation’s unrestricted endowment, which makes annual awards to programmatic purposes in line with the Foundation’s mission, vision and values, subject to the approval of the NCBF Executive and Volunteer Leadership. Justice Fund honorees are commemorated with a copper-etched portrait hung at the N.C. Bar Center. Grant funding for 2019-20 totals $406,262 supporting 28 projects across the state.
A. William “Bill” Kennon
A. William (Bill) Kennon was a well-known and highly respected attorney specializing in Trusts and Estates who lived and practiced in Durham, North Carolina. His legal career spanned over 46 years. Following his graduation in 1962 from Duke University after obtaining his AB degree, he served as a commissioned division officer of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal; he is a veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
After leaving the naval service, Bill married Martha Elizabeth Collins in 1964. He graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1967.
Bill practiced law with his late father until the latter’s retirement in 1976, when he joined the Durham law firm of Newsom, Graham, Strayhorn and Hedrick (which later became Newsom, Graham, Hedrick & Kennon), where he served as managing partner for twelve years. He served as general counsel for Central Carolina Bank and Security Financial Holding Company prior to their merger with other financial institutions.
Bill proudly served as corporate counsel for the American Football Coaches Association. He was instrumental in creating and served as general counsel for the American Football Coaches Foundation, the educational fundraising arm of the AFCA. At its annual meeting in January 2013, Bill was awarded an honorary membership in the AFCA.
Bill wrote and lectured extensively on subjects pertaining to federal taxation, estate and trust planning and administration. In 1979, He was elected a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel. He later was elected as a member of the American Counsel Association.
Bill was active in the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association, serving as a member of the ABA Section of Taxation Committee on Exempt Organizations and as a member of the Executive Council of the NCBA Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section. He was a member of a subcommittee of the NC Bar Section of Taxation which worked closely with the NC General Statutes Commission in developing the North Caroline Professional Corporation Act.
Bill served for many years as a trustee of the NCBA pension plan. Bill was a member of an ACTEC task force which developed the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which was adopted by most states, and served as North Carolina editor of Drafting the Power of Attorney, A Systems Approach.
Bill retired from the practice of law in 2013, having completed his career in the law as the senior named principal in the Durham law firm of Kennon Craver, PLLC.
Bill served two terms as a member of the Vestry of St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Durham, and also as its Senior Warden. He served three terms as a member of the Board of Governors of Hope Valley Country Club and twice as its President. He served as a member of the Board of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina, and was a member of the Board of LC Industries. He was a trustee of the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Foundation as well as a board member of the Fox Family Foundation.
Bill was a direct lineal descendant of Major (by Brevet) Robert Kirkwood, Revolutionary War hero. By virtue of this lineage, Bill was a member of the Delaware state chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati founded by George Washington.
Family was incredibly important to Bill. He married his beloved Martha in 1964. He had two sons, William Scott Kennon and James Kirkwood Kennon. The apple of his eye were his four grandchildren.
When not in the law office, you could find Bill duck hunting with his one of his treasured hunting dogs. He also loved to go deep sea fishing. Bill’s law firm was always well supplied with mahi-mahi during the fishing season.
James Wiley Narron
His father, born and raised in Johnston County, wanted his son to grow up as the father had, hardscrabble, understanding the joy of work. On his 10th birthday, James Wiley Narron was given an alarm clock, promptly set for 5 a.m. His father, a country lawyer, would do the “lawyering” and the boy would do the farming. He would rise at 5 o’clock, lay a fire in the kitchen, feed the hogs, feed the cows, and get ready for the 7 o’clock school bus. At night, it was the same program, in reverse. Early on he learned the direct connection between effort and results.
Narron entered the University at Chapel Hill wholly unprepared for the rigors of higher education. By the second semester, he came to the realization that he should apply his farm work ethic to his studies, after which he excelled. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies in 1970, be fulfilled his R.O.T.C. commitment with the U.S. Navy, where he was an Ensign deployed to the Mediterranean.
One of his assignments was to serve as officer of the deck during General Quarters and when entering and leaving port. From the bridge, he piloted great ships through the Straits of Gibraltar, Messina, and Magellan; saw the lights of Haifa, Israel and Libreville, Gabon, the eerie red glow of Mount Etna at night; entered and left ports from Naples to Halifax, down the east coast of North America and through the Caribbean, around South America to San Diego and San Francisco. Narron left the Navy as a Lieutenant, having completed a transformative experience of great responsibility.
Wake Forest University, almost alone among law schools, had a program left over from World War II under which a student could make up the first semester in summer school. Narron enrolled in January 1973, about three weeks after leaving his ship in San Diego. Under Dr. Robert E. Lee, reading the first case assigned for the first class, he had an epiphany—this was great fun, intellectually exhilarating, logical, something he realized from the first moment would be his life’s work.
For most of the five-semester time, Narron was first in his class; he made Law Review, set aside an hour each night to read, for fun, law review articles or cases cited in the footnotes of casebooks. He worked until 11 p.m. each night and borrowed a key from the Law Review office to work in the stacks on Saturday afternoons and Sundays when the library was closed.
Narron’s father died just at the end of his second semester. His mother kept open his father’s office, preparing income tax returns, and passing off files to other lawyers, with the certain expectation that he would return to his father’s law office and help on the farm, which he did.
In 1979 he joined with John P. O’Hale to form Narron & O’Hale, which in the following year welcomed O. Hampton Whittington Jr. into Narron, O’Hale and Whittington, P.A. The partnership of friends and colleagues lasted nearly 40 years, becoming Narron Wenzel, P.A., near the end of 2018.
At that time, there was more need for estate planning with tax consequences than for “straight” tax planning, at least in eastern North Carolina. He did both, but gravitated toward estate planning with wills and trusts. He had been a charter member of the North Carolina Bar Association Section on Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law and was soon invited to speak at the annual meeting on a tax topic. Not long thereafter, he was invited to become an adjunct professor at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University. And, soon afterward, he was invited to become part of the faculty at the Southeastern Trust School, also at Campbell, and later at the National Trust School at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
Those happy invitations led to a shadow career of teaching, numerous articles in publications, and over 100 continuing education manuscripts delivered across the nation. Because of his teaching, he became, by invitation, a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel.
In about 2000, with a nod from his partners, he started out to expand his division of the firm. Thereafter, and with Jason W. Wenzel as his partner, the firm has grown to 11 lawyers and 11 staff, with offices in Smithfield, Raleigh, and Benson. The law practice has been good to Narron, and his younger partners and associates are the light of his life.
But there are other passions. After his mother’s death, he consolidated ownership of the family farm and expanded it. He maintained a large herd of cattle on the farm for many years. Now, he is down to about 20 head, and spends most of his time on heavy machinery maintaining the roads in the Neuse River bottoms. His delight is now his renovation of the old farmhouse where he grew up.
Those other passions include contributions to his community and to the bar. Among other recognitions, he has been named Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in recognition of his development efforts in downtown Smithfield. He has served on numerous boards, including Johnston Community College Board of Trustees, and the local Library Board. For many years he was on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Community Foundation, Inc., and served as chairman of that board from 2008 through 2012. He has served as an N.C. State Bar councilor and as chair of its Specialty Committee for Estate Planning, as Vice President of the NCBA and as chair of the Senior Lawyers Division, and on various committees of the Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Section.
Elizabeth L. Quick
Elizabeth Leight Quick has devoted her entire legal career to promoting the profession and the well-being of her clients. For over 45 years, Betty has been a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and the N.C. State Bar, holding leadership positions and volunteering her time and resources to both organizations. Her Justice Fund has been established by firm colleagues, family, friends, clients and fellow lawyers in recognition of Betty’s many years of devoted service.
Betty was born in Izmir, Turkey, on May 22, 1948, to Edwin and Annette Leight. Her father was a tobacco buyer with Reynolds Tobacco Company and lived in Turkey and Greece his entire career. As the second of seven children, Betty grew up in a loving family, enriched by the experiences of growing up abroad and encountering different cultures and religions. Her first year living in the United States came in 1966 when she enrolled at Duke University as a freshman, graduating in 1970 with a degree in History. Betty attended UNC School of Law and received her JD with honors in 1974, having been on the Law Review and as a member of the Order of the Coif.
Betty met her husband, Bob, in law school. As first-year law students at UNC, they met during orientation week and were in the same classes. Betty would always embarrass Bob by saying that it was love at first sight! They were married one week after graduating in 1974, and both of them were hired as associates by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem, N.C. – something that was quite unusual in 1974. Both Betty and Bob worked their entire legal careers at Womble Carlyle (now Womble Bond Dickinson LLP). Betty was one of two women attorneys hired by Womble Carlyle in 1974. She went on to become the first female partner in the firm and the first female to serve as managing partner of the Winston-Salem office.
Bob died in 2012. Together they had two children, Robert and Sara, both of whom are married and each with two children. Sara followed in Betty’s footsteps, graduating from Duke University and UNC School of Law, and currently works as an Assistant District Attorney in Portland, Oregon. Robert is the Regional Executive Manager of Alex Brown in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Betty began her work with Womble Carlyle as a trust and estate lawyer, and has worked as a specialist in that field her entire career. On her first day of work she met William F. Womble, who became her mentor and introduced her to the importance of becoming an active member of the NCBA. Betty joined bar committees and immediately became a popular speaker at CLE programs. As a founding member of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section, she provided the “Recent Developments” review every year for the annual meeting of the Section. Also, Betty was the principle editor and author of the Section’s “North Carolina Estate Administration Manual” in 1984, which remains today as an ongoing project of the Section and an important resource for practitioners and clerks of court in North Carolina.
Betty served as President of the NCBA and the North Carolina Bar Foundation in 1997-98. She was the 103rd President of the NCBA and has continued to serve on NCBA committees over the past two decades. Betty was especially proud to serve as chair of the search committee that recommended Jason Hensley to succeed Allan Head as Executive Director of the NCBA and NCBF.
Through the North Carolina State Bar, Betty served on the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners and is this year finishing her second term on the IOLTA Board of Trustees, having just completed a year as chair. In 2007, Betty was the recipient of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Award presented to her by then Chief Justice Sarah Parker. Betty is a member of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, and has been voted each year as one of the “Best Lawyers” and “Super Lawyers” in her field.
In her community, Betty has served on the governing boards of numerous civic organizations and grant-making foundations, and still volunteers her time with local non-profits. Having recently reduced her working hours with Womble Bond Dickinson LLP, Betty now devotes much of her time to training young lawyers, but still enjoys working with her clients with whom she has been a loyal advisor for many years. One of those clients, upon making a contribution to her Justice Fund, recently wrote: “Betty has been involved with my family for over 30 years and across four generations now, counting a 2-year-old! She continues to provide sage and valuable advice to our extended family, as well as being a treasured friend for many years.”
Betty has more time now to enjoy her four grandchildren, and she is visiting her west coast family in Oregon more often these days. Betty and her five sisters are planning a trip to Turkey in 2020 – to visit the country where they all grew up. Yet she still finds the time to work on bar committees and remain engaged with her clients and family.
Because of Betty’s work over the years with Legal Aid and IOLTA, she has designated legal services to the poor as the focus area for the income from her justice fund.
James F. “Jim” Morgan – Lawyer Impact Fund Honoree
James F. “Jim” Morgan was born on June 21, 1943, to James V. “J.V.” and Dorothy Bowden Morgan. He attended High Point Public Schools and graduated from High Point High School in 1961. On June 29, 1963, he married Ann Tinsley Morgan, and together they have two children. Jim is a managing partner for the law firm of Morgan, Herring, Morgan, Green & Rosenblutt in High Point, where his areas of practice include personal injury, probate, wills, trials, and zoning and governmental relations.
While attending High Point High School he received the Thorn McMahan Award as the MVP for football, the Inspiration Football Winner and Best All-around Competitor. He was also president of the Monogram Club, vice president of the Key Club, a member of the a cappella choir, homeroom president, chairman of prom committee, chairman of the Inter-Club Council, named to Who’s Who at High Point High School, the all-conference football team and was a finalist in the state wrestling tournament.
He attended the University of North Carolina on a football scholarship for one year. The Morgans both graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, which awarded him the Guilford College Alumni Excellence Award in 2004. Morgan attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where he was a chairman of the Law Day Committee, president of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and vice president of the student body. He earned his law degree in 1968.
Morgan was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1969 and the United States Middle District of North Carolina in 1970. He served three terms in the N. C. House of Representatives and has been continuously active in his community since leaving the legislature, serving as chairman or president of over 75 organizations, including the North Carolina Jaycees, the Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce, the N.C. Council of Bar Presidents, United Way of N.C, the N.C. Commission on Legal Aid and the N.C. Shakespeare Festival.
Morgan has served as chairman of several regional organizations such as the Guilford Legislative Delegation (1979-1982), Guilford Technical Community College, High Point Regional Health Systems Board of Trustees, Hospice of the Piedmont, Guilford County Bar (18th), Alcohol and Drug Services of Guilford, Guilford Technical Community College Foundation, High Point University Board of Visitors, Triad Chambers of Commerce, NCCJ Walk as One Committee, Guilford Education Alliance, High Point District Trustees-United Methodist Church, UNC-G Bryan Economic Development Council, Piedmont Triad Aerotropolis Project, Cornerstone Foundation, Junior Achievement of Central N.C, UNC-Bryan School of Business Advisory Board, Piedmont Triad Partnership, High Point Area Arts Council, YMCA Metro Board, YMCA South Field Committee (1990-1994), YMCA Trustees, Volunteers to Court, and Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club (1977-1978).
Morgan was founding chairman of Legal Aid of High Point (1974-1976), the High Point Community Foundation (1990-2003), the YMCA Board of Trustees, where he started the Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast (1989-1992), the Macedonia Project (2000-2004), Guilford Education Alliance (2002-2006), Cornerstone Charitable Foundation (2008-2012), and a founding member of the High Point Market Authority (2001). He has served as chairman of building projects in High Point, including the High Point Country Club (Emerywood Club House), the restoration of the High Point Train Depot, Hospice Home of High Point, Spirit Center, home of the N.C. Shakespeare Festival, and the purchase of the new Cultural Arts Center for the High Point Arts Council in 2012.
Jim has been a pillar of support to many organizations, his community and the North Carolina Bar Association. Jim is also very active at Christ United Methodist Church in High Point where he has been a member since 1943. He was the superintendent of the Sunday School Department from 1969-1972, president of Men’s Club, Sunday school teacher, Christian Fellowship Class, Friendly, Big Brother, and United Class from 1982 to present; chairman of the Administrative Board (1982-1987); Christian Service Award (1988); chairman of the Board of Trustees (1988-1990); delegate, Western N.C. Conference, Methodist Church (1989-1998); and chairman of the Board of Trustees for High Point District United Methodist Church (1990-1998). He is a Lay Leader for Christ United Methodist Church (1994-1999) and Certified Lay Speaker-Methodist Church.
Jim loves to play sand volleyball, dance (especially shagging); he loves to throw parties and being around people. He loves helping people and will accommodate anyone who walks in his office even though his staff thinks he is being too kind. But more importantly than any of these things he loves his family and if any one of his family members calls or comes by the office he will drop whatever he is doing. And he is the most proud of his children and their accomplishments: Lea Evans Morgan who is a magna cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University and UNC Law School graduate, and is an attorney at Helms, Robison & Lee, PA in Monroe; and James F. “Jef’ Morgan II who is a graduate of N.C. State University and is employed by Smart Choice. They have six grandchildren: Mary Elizabeth Pflaging and Clay Morgan Pflaging who are both students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Christopher James Pflaging who lives in Matthews, where he attends school at Charlotte Catholic; and James Franklin Morgan III, Emily Hampton Morgan and Anna Kathryn Morgan who live in High Point and are students at Westchester Day.