William Frank "Bill" Maready (1932 - 2018)

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WILLIAM "BILL" FRANK MAREADY William "Bill" Frank Maready, 85, passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 9th, 2018 in Winston-Salem, NC, surrounded by family. Bill was a force of nature. Born on a tenant farm near Mullins, SC on September 13, 1932, the son of the late Jessie Franklin Maready and Vera Sellers Maready. He grew up on a small tobacco farm on the banks of the New River just south of Jacksonville in Onslow County, NC. From these humble beginnings, he rose to become an unparalleled trial lawyer with a national reputation. He enrolled at N.C. State College, but interrupted his education when he ran out of funds and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1952, where he became a Green Beret with the Tenth Special Forces Group, and served overseas in Bad Tolz, Germany. Following his discharge from the military service, Bill returned to college and later received a liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended law school at UNC, where he became an associate editor of the North Carolina Law Review and graduated second in his class with the honor of Order of the Coif in 1958. After obtaining his law degree, Bill practiced on Wall Street for a couple of years with the firm of Mudge, Stern, Baldwin and Todd, of which former president Richard Nixon was once a partner. He then returned to North Carolina in 1960 and spent the balance of his career as a litigator in Winston-Salem, starting with the law firm of Hudson, Ferrell, Carter, Petree and Stockton, which later added his name to the letterhead. In a career that spanned over fifty years, Bill also practiced with the firm of Robinson & Maready, and ended with his own solo practice a few years before retirement. Bill, an avid airplane pilot who flew for years in a Beechcraft Bonanza and later a Baron twin-engine aircraft, developed an international reputation in the area of aviation and space law. In addition to his involvement in airplane crash litigation over much of the country, in 1981 he helped organize the first International Symposium on Air and Space Law. A year later, he was a founder and first chairman of the American Bar Association's Forum Committee on Air and Space Law. His work on the Forum led him to NASA headquarters in Houston, TX, where he met a number of key personnel in the space program, including astronaut Mike Smith, who became a close friend. A fellow North Carolinian, Smith was the pilot of the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle that exploded shortly after launch from Cape Canaveral on January 28, 1986. Six months later, Bill was retained by Jane Smith, Mike's widow, to represent her in a lawsuit against NASA and Morton Thiokol, Inc., the manufacturer of the defective solid rocket booster that caused the shuttle to self-destruct. After he spent several years traveling the country, attending court hearings in three different states, taking depositions, reviewing records and searching archives, Thiokol settled the suit ten days before the scheduled trial date in federal court in Richmond, Virginia for an undisclosed sum. Bill was involved in a number of other high profile cases. He obtained a $15 million jury verdict on behalf of W.R. Grace Company against the manufacturer of a defective fertilizer that destroyed countless tobacco crops in eastern North Carolina. In 1995, he brought a lawsuit against Forsyth County to stop the grant of incentives to attract business to the community. Initially successful at the trial court level in obtaining an injunction banning the expenditure of public funds for this purpose, the ruling was later overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court. Always the champion of the common man, Bill was stalwart in his pursuit of cases that promoted individual rights against encroaching government regulation. Bill received numerous professional honors over the course of his legal career. He was inducted into the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers as a fellow in 1982, an organization whose membership is limited to less than one percent of the practicing bar. He was the founder and first chairman of the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1981-82, and a member of the Association Board of Governors from 1990-93. He was president of the UNC Law Alumni Association from 1994-97, and served on the UNC Board of Directors for over a decade. Bill was also active in civic life. He was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club for forty years. He was elected to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education in 1967, served as its first ever Republican chairman from 1970-72, and presided over the orderly desegregation of the local schools. He later served on the Board of Trustees of Forsyth Technical Community College, and was instrumental in the creation of the Career Center there. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University. In 1985, Bill was appointed by then Governor Jim Martin to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Ports Authority, where he led the charge over the next decade to upgrade the Wilmington port in order to increase the flow of foreign commerce into the state. He was the first recipient of the Freedom Award from the John Locke Society. He was a member of Centenary United Methodist Church. Bill was also a devoted family man. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Brenda McCanless Maready; two daughters, Catherine Leigh Maready of Southern Pines, NC and Wilmington, NC, and Brenn Maready Kennedy of Winston-Salem, NC and her husband, Brian; three sons, Michael Craig Maready of Atlanta, GA and his wife, Caroline, Michael Hunter Maready of Wilmington, NC, and William McCanless Maready of Houston, TX and his wife, Natalie; two grandchildren, Michael William Maready of St. Louis, MO and Vida Jennings Kennedy of Winston-Salem, NC. Also surviving are a brother, Jack Donald Maready of Pleasanton, CA and wife, Polly; a sister, Shelby Jean Maready of Carmichael, CA; and dear nieces and nephews. The family would like to give special thanks to Donna Cenedella, who gave Bill so much love, care, joy, and comfort for so many years. Also, we are indebted to Felix Hairston and the many wonderful women and men who assisted Bill from Hairston Home Care. A celebration of Bill's life will be held on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church, 646 West Fifth Street, Winston-Salem, NC with a visitation following the service in the church auditorium. The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Monday, August 13, 2018 at Salem Funeral Home, Reynolda Chapel, 2951 Reynolda Rd., Winston-Salem, NC. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to Centenary United Methodist Church, 646 West Fifth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 or Forsyth Technical Community College, 2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Online condolences may be made at www.salemfh.com.
Religious Service Information
Centenary United Methodist Chr
646 W 5th St
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
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Published in the Wilmington Star-News on Aug. 12, 2018
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