The North Carolina Bar Foundation (NCBF) is pleased to announce the Platt D. Walker Society Class of 2019. The Society, named in honor of the first president of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA), recognizes members and friends who include the NCBF in their personal estate plans.

“We are grateful for to these individuals and their families for their commitments to the North Carolina Bar Foundation Endowment,” said LeAnn Nease Brown, president of the NCBA/NCBF. “Their generosity enhances our Foundation and its ability to provide opportunities for the legal community to serve the citizens of North Carolina.”

Planned gifts that qualify a donor for membership in the Platt Walker Society include a testamentary bequest, a charitable trust, a gift of life insurance, a retirement plan beneficiary designation or other deferred gifts.

Members of the Platt D. Walker Society Class of 2019 were recognized at the NCBA Annual Meeting in Wilmington during the Awards and Recognitions Dinner. They are:

Zeb E. Barnhardt Jr. of Greensboro. Barnhardt served on the NCBA Board of Governors and NCBF Board of Directors in 1991-94 and previously chaired the Business Law Section and the Dispute Resolution Section. Barnhardt is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Law and former member of the NCBF Endowment Committee. A certified mediator, arbitrator and consultant, he was a founding member of the Board of Directors of BarCARES of North Carolina, Inc. Barnhardt is also a past president of the LAP Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., and previously served a three-year term on the ABA’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.

Judge Robert R. Blackwell of Blanch. Blackwell served as chief District Court judge for Judicial Districts 17A and 9A comprising Person, Caswell and Rockingham counties and practiced law for 30 years. He also served as an emergency judge until his retirement, presiding in 90 counties over the course of his judicial service. Blackwell served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law. He was a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Blackwell died on April 27, 2017, at the age of 89, perpetuating his love for the law through an estate gift to the North Carolina Bar Foundatio

William S. Cherry Jr. and Susan Cherry of Raleigh. Bill Cherry is a partner in Poyner Spruill with over 40 years of experience. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and served on the NCBA Board of Governors and NCBF Board of Directors in 1994-97, and is also a past chair of the Real Property Section. Susan Cherry is an educator who serves as testing coordinator for Wake County Public Schools. Their planned gift to the North Carolina Bar Foundation affirms their commitment to helping others in need of legal assistance.

Erwin Fuller Jr. of Greensboro. Fuller retired as partner emeritus on Jan. 31, 2019, following more than 50 years of service with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard. He is a graduate of Duke University School of Law. Fuller has been a stalwart leader within the NCBA/NCBF, where he served as chair of the Senior Lawyers Division and as a member of the Development Committee, and the Greensboro Bar Association, where he served as president. His numerous honors include the NCBA Citizen Lawyer Award, induction into the Greensboro Bar Association’s Herb Falk Society, and joint recognition from the NCBA and the Greensboro Bar Association as a recipient of the Centennial Award.

Thomas M. Hull of Apex. Hull serves as director of legacy gifts for the North Carolina Bar Foundation, continuing a record of service at the N.C. Bar Center that began in 1995 when he was named director of development for the NCBF. His commitment to serving and helping others was instilled in him by his mother, Lorene, who was active in the civil rights movement while raising 11 children. Hull has helped build the NCBF Endowment to nearly $13 million, thereby generating millions in grants to help those in need and promote the rule of law across North Carolina.

William Kennon of Durham. Kennon enjoyed a remarkable career, during which he practiced with his father, served as managing partner of Newsom, Graham, Strayhorn and Hedrick, and completed his career in 2013 as the senior named principal in Kennon Craver, PLLC. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, Kennon served on the council of the NCBA Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Section and for years was a trustee of the NCBA’s pension plan. Kennon died on April 7, 2018, at the age of 67, and generously included the North Carolina Bar Foundation in his estate.

James W. Kilbourne Jr. of Asheville. Kilbourne practices with Dungan, Kilbourne & Stahl, P.A., and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law. His commitment to the Platt Walker Society prior to his 50th birthday sets a shining example for younger lawyers. Growing up in Marion, Kilbourne benefitted from the example set by local lawyers such as NCBA Past President Charles Burgin, Frank Goldsmith and Judge Robert C. Hunter. His record of service includes membership on the Appellate Rules Committee and the Nominations Committee, and he just completed a two-year term as chair of the Annual Meeting Committee.

Beth Langley of Greensboro. Langley is a partner with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP, with more than 25 years of legal experience. A graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, she has provided volunteer leadership to numerous organizations, including the NCBA and NCBF. She is a former member of the Administration of Justice Committee and since 2010 has served on the Development Committee, including service from 2014-17 as chair. Langley presently serves on the NCBA Board of Governors and the NCBF Board of Directors.

Judge Julian Mann III of Raleigh. A graduate of Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Mann is a former vice president of the NCBA Board of Governors and member of the NCBF Board of Directors, and former chair of the NCBF Endowment Committee. He has served as Chief Administrative Law Judge for the State of North Carolina since 1989 and is presently serving an unprecedented eighth term by appointment of five chief justices (Martin, Parker, Lake, Mitchell and Exum). Mann is a past chair of the ABA Judicial Division’s National Conference of the Administrative Law Judiciary and the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary.

George W. Martin of Mocksville. Martin graduated from Duke University School of Law and practiced in his native Mocksville for more than 50 years, at first with his brother, Lester P. Martin Jr., and later with NCBA Past President Hank Van Hoy and others. He loved Davie County, as evidenced by his support of many local charitable, civic and business organizations and endeavors and his commitment to the county’s industrial development that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. Martin died on April 3, 2018, at the age of 90, and was honored posthumously with the establishment of an NCBF Endowment Liberty Fund.

Mary Todd “Toddy” Warren of Washington. Toddy Warren joins her husband, the late Lindsay C. Warren Jr., past president of the NCBA and NCBF, as a member of the Platt Walker Society. Her planned gift was established in honor of her husband’s outstanding career as a lawyer in Goldsboro. Toddy Warren has also contributed significantly to the betterment of eastern North Carolina, especially through her passion for teaching history to high school students, and later as a real estate agent in Washington, where she lives in retirement. The North Carolina Bar Foundation is forever indebted to the Warrens for their generosity and service.

John R. Wester of Charlotte. Wester is a past president of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Foundation. He is a graduate of Duke University School of Law and has practiced throughout his career with Robinson Bradshaw. Wester has long been a champion of pro bono service, serving as lead counsel in Hyatt v. Shalala, and judicial independence, where he provided leadership to the NCBA Judicial Independence Committee and most recently was named founding chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers General Committee for Judicial Independence.