Sec. of state's husband dies

Marshall was by partner's side

Staff WriterNovember 29, 2009 

— The husband of North Carolina's secretary of state died in his Raleigh home Saturday morning after a yearlong battle with cancer.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said William H. Holdford, 77, died with Marshall and other family members by his side.

Spokesman George Jeter said Holdford had multiple forms of cancer.

Graveside memorial services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Maplewood Cemetery in Wilson. A service will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Joyner Funeral Home in Wilson.

Holdford was a Wilson native and president of Narron and Holdford law firm in his hometown.

He received a bachelor's degree and a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1960, according to his law firm's Web site. He started the law firm with his brother and brother-in-law after returning from service in the Army.

According to the site, he specialized in medical negligence law, personal injury law, wills, wrongful death law and corporate and civil litigation.

He was the president of the Wilson County Bar Association from 1968-1970, served on the Board of Governors of the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers from 1974-1977, and was the group's president from 1978-1979.

Holdford was inducted into the North Carolina Bar Association's General Practice Hall of Fame earlier this year.

He served multiple terms as senior warden of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church and was a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 17.

Married eight years ago

Holdford and Marshall married eight years ago. Marshall's first husband, Solomon Marshall, was also a lawyer who died of cancer in 1999.

Holdford was married to his previous wife, Joan Holdford, for 44 years until she died of an illness.

He had two daughters and two grandchildren.

ray.martin@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4952

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