WESTON P. HATFIELD

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HATFIELD WESTON POOLE HATFIELD Weston Poole Hatfield died October 19, 2012 at his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was 92. Mr. Hatfield was born in Hickory, North Carolina, in 1920. He attended Lenoir Rhyne College and graduated from Wake Forest University and Harvard Law School. His studies at Harvard were interrupted by three years of military service in the U.S. Army, including 32 continuous months in Europe. Originally scheduled to participate on the front lines of the invasion of Normandy as a member of the First Division known as the Big Red One, he was at the last minute reassigned to cover the operation as a radio correspondent, arriving on Utah Beach three days after the invasion. He interviewed hundreds of soldiers and military officers in his role as press officer, as well as celebrities such as Dinah Shore, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, who were entertaining troops in the European Theatre. Subsequently, Hatfield joined the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, where he investigated and prosecuted crimes involving military personnel. At the end of the war, while serving as a public safety officer responsible for the denazification of the government of Upper and Lower Franconia, he met his future wife, Lisa Katerina Knueppel, when she applied for a job in the Public Health Office of the Central Government at Anspach. She came to visit him three years after Mr. Hatfield's return to the United States, and the couple married in New York in 1949. For his military service, Mr. Hatfield was awarded four battle stars for serving in campaigns in Central Europe, the Rhineland, the Ardennes and Normandy. Hatfield had a long and distinguished legal career in North Carolina. He joined both the American Bar and the North Carolina Bar Associations in 1947, and had leadership roles in both organizations. He served on the North Carolina State Bar Council, the governing body of the state bar, from 1976 to 1988. In addition, he chaired the Ethics Committee of the North Carolina Bar from 1982 - 1985, during which time he also presided over the committee that rewrote the state code of ethics for lawyers. He was Vice Chairman of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professional Discipline from 1985 - 1988, a member of the American Judicature Society and a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association General Practice Hall of Fame. At the time of his death, he was of counsel to the firm of Hatfield, Mountcastle, Deal, Van Zandt and Mann LLC. Hatfield maintained a life-long commitment to Wake Forest University. He served three terms on the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest, two as chairman, and was a lifetime member of that body. He presided over the historic meeting when the University severed its affiliation with the Baptist State Convention, a move which enabled it to transcend its origin as a regional school and become a nationally ranked institution. He holds a Distinguished Alumni Award, a Medallion of Merit Award and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from that school, the University's three most prestigious awards. For over sixty years, Mr. Hatfield was active in Winston-Salem civic affairs. He was, at various times, President of the Winston-Salem Symphony Association, Goodwill Industries, the Winston Salem Arts Council and the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. He was a recipient of the city's Distinguished Service Award. In the late l950s, he arranged for the Washington Redskins to play a series of exhibition games in Winston-Salem against the Green Bay Packers. As a result, he developed an unlikely relationship with Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. Hatfield recalled receiving a phone call from Marshall in late 1961; Marshall asked how the team's southern fans might react if he added a black player to the roster. Hatfield replied he thought the fans would be happy, particularly if it meant the Redskins might win a few more games. Soon afterwards it was reported that Bobby Mitchell had signed with the team, thereby integrating the Redskins for the first time in 1962. Hatfield had an expansive and varied array of abilities and interests. He was a world traveler, an able musician and an accomplished writer. He was a Gilbert and Sullivan scholar, and wrote a number of articles highlighting the influence of English common law on Gilbert's libretti. He was the author of a successful book on real estate investing and three novels, "Murder at First Baptist," "Where There's a Will" and "The Governor's Choice," as well as an unpublished biography of Joan of Arc. His work has appeared in various magazines, including the New Yorker. In his later years, he spent several summers at Cambridge University, pursuing his interest in medieval history. He maintained residences in Winston-Salem and Washington, DC, and was a member of the Old Town Club in Winston-Salem and the Harvard Club of New York City. He is survived by four children and their spouses: Anne Hatfield Weir and Howard Weir; Weston Warren Hatfield and Julie Ford Hatfield; Andrea Hatfield and Howard O'Leary, and Heidi Hatfield and Charles Karelis; and by eleven grandchildren: Howard Twaddell Weir IV, Lisa Weston Weir, and Emma Warren Weir; Elizabeth Everett O'Leary, Howard Emmett O'Leary III, and Lansing Hatfield O'Leary; Ford Andreas Hatfield, Lydia Katherine Hatfield, and Weston Poole Hatfield, II; Alexander Karelis and Oliver Karelis. He was preceded in death by his wife Lisa in 2008. A celebration of his life will be held at the home of his daughter Heidi on November 18 at 6 p.m. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, any memorial gifts be made to the Weston P. Hatfield Fund at Wake Forest University, P.O. Box 7227, Winston-Salem, NC 27109.A celebration of his life will be held at the home of his daughter Heidi on November 18 at 6 p.m. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, any memorial gifts be made to the Weston P. Hatfield Fund at Wake Forest University, P.O. Box 7227, Winston-Salem, NC 27109.

Published in The Washington Post on Nov. 4, 2012
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