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William McCullough

1934 - 2017
William McCullough Obituary
William Henry McCullough

November 23, 1934 - January 22, 2017


William "Bill" Henry McCullough passed away Sunday, January 22, at the age of 82.

Bill was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the oldest child of The Reverend Henry Antine McCullough, Jr. and Katherine Johnston McCullough. He graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne College with a B.A. in History (1956) and earned his Juris Doctorate in Law, with honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1959), where he served on the board of editors of the North Carolina Law Review.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanette Gardenhour McCullough; his daughters, Laura Ridgeway (the Hon. Paul); Linda Van Horn (Richard); Mary Beach (Mark); and three grandchildren – Isaac Ridgeway, David Ridgeway, and Samuel Teague. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. David McCullough (Carroll) of Winston-Salem, and sister Katherine Trexler (Robert) of Durham, many nieces and nephews, and extended family.

Bill married his college sweetheart, Jeanette, on August 16, 1958. He earned money for her engagement ring by selling Bibles door to door. After Bill completed law school, the young couple began their married life in Gastonia, N.C. where he practiced law with Garland & Eck. Shortly after, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army during the Cuban Missile Crisis and stationed in Fort Rucker, Alabama. After being released from active duty, Bill arrived in Raleigh to resume his legal career in 1963 with a toddler, an expectant wife, and $12 in his pocket. From there, he began to build a successful law practice and immerse himself in family, church, community, and beyond.

Bill's distinguished law career spanned over 50 years, where he was certified by the N.C. State Bar as a specialist in real property law, business, commercial, and industrial transactions. His areas of practice included business law and corporations, securities regulation, taxation, and real property. He joined the law firm of Sanford, Adams, McCullough, & Beard in 1967, where he served as a senior partner for many years. The firm later merged to become Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein in 1990, where he was a senior partner. After his retirement in 2003, he served of-counsel for many years and was honored at the firm's 50th anniversary celebration. Bill was a member of Wake County Bar's Senior Survivor Group. Over the years, his thoroughness, persistence, and practicality earned the respect of his colleagues and clients alike.

As the son of a Lutheran pastor, Bill was a devoted "pillar" of his beloved church congregation, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, for over 50 years. Bill served in multiple leadership positions, including president of the church council, music and worship, constitution and bylaws, and pastoral selection committees, capital campaigns, Sunday School, church choir, and chair of the infamous annual talent show. In addition, he served three terms on the executive board of directors of the N.C. Lutheran Synod and Lenoir-Rhyne College (now University) for many years.

Bill was a great organizer of people and loved to plan – family reunions and vacations, choir functions, and neighborhood gatherings. One of his favorite milestones was a week-long 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Vancouver with his family.

Bill truly loved his God, family, and life itself. He was happiest when surrounded by people, playing games, shooting pool, and outdoor grilling. He encouraged and mentored others, and looked for the best in people. He had a curious mind, always looking forward to new adventures.

He loved: All things WWII. Music from Bach to Pink Martini. Films like the Blues Brothers, Pink Panther, and James Bond series. Competitive sports. Maintaining a meticulous lawn with blooming flowers. He was a keen observer of humanity, often accompanied by hilarious social commentary. A voracious reader with perfect recall, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of people, places, and things. North Carolina was his home. He knew every barbeque joint and the names of all 100 counties along with the best back road to get there.

A celebration of his life will be held on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 11:00 am at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2723 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, N.C. with a reception following. A visitation at the church will be held on Sunday, January 29 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Condolences to the family may be shared at www.cremationsocietync.com
Published in The News & Observer from Jan. 24 to Jan. 29, 2017
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