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Lura S. Tally

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FAYETTEVILLE - Former N.C. Sen. Lura Cowles Self Tally died in Fayetteville on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, at the age of 90. She was born in Statesville, Dec. 9, 1921, the second of five children of Robert Ottis and Sara Cowles Self, and grew up in Raleigh. She graduated from Needham Broughton High School, Peace College and Duke University. While in college, she met her future husband, Joseph O. Tally Jr. They were married in Raleigh on Jan. 30, 1943. During World War II, while her husband served as a Navy officer overseas, Mrs. Tally worked at the Pratt & Whitney jet propulsion laboratory in Connecticut. After the war, the couple returned to North Carolina, first to Wake Forest, where Mr. Tally taught at the university's school of law, and then to his hometown of Fayetteville, where he joined his father, J. Oscar Tally, in the practice of law. Much of Mrs. Tally's life involved civic service and political activities. She was active in The Women's Club, The N.C. Historical Society, Hay Street Methodist Church, many causes and organizations benefiting public education, the arts and the less fortunate in Cumberland County. She and her husband, who was mayor of Fayetteville from 1949-1953, were proud progressive Democrats, and were known throughout the region for their support of civil rights in troubled times. In 1972, Mrs. Tally ran successfully for the N.C. House of Representatives, and served 11 terms in that chamber and in the N.C. Senate, retiring in 1994, as the longest-serving female legislator in state history to that time. In the General Assembly, Mrs. Tally was known for leadership roles in education and human rights, and was recognized as being fundamentally responsible for protecting the Cape Fear River watershed. She continued to work after her retirement on the causes she would still urge others to fight for. In 1995, Methodist College established the Lura S. Tally Center for Leadership Development, with the theme that leadership skills can be learned, providing to undergraduate students a curriculum inspired by its namesake's career in public service. Mrs. Tally was the heart of her family, near and extended, through generations, and the keeper of family history. She is survived by her brother, retired U.S. Navy Capt. William Cowles Self and his wife, Betty, of Kissemmee, Fla. She was preceded in death by a brother, Robert; and sisters, Eleanor and Nancy. Mrs. Tally had two sons, Robert Tally and wife Cindy of Winston-Salem, who survives her, and John C. Tally and wife Mary Ann of Fayetteville, who passed away earlier this year. She is also survived by five grandsons, Robert Jr., Richey, Lockett, Jay and Jesse; and many nieces and nephews. Others will keep the family history now, and Lura Self Tally will have an honored place for new generations. A funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. today, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, at Hay Street Methodist Church. The family will greet visitors in the church's fellowship hall an hour before the service. A private interment will be held at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. In lieu of flowers, gifts should be made to the Lura S. Tally Center, Methodist University, 5400 Ramsey St., Fayetteville, NC 28311. Services entrusted to Rogers and Breece Funeral Home of Fayetteville.

Published in Fayetteville Observer from Aug. 29 to Aug. 30, 2012
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