Henry Grady Barnhill, Jr., of Winston-Salem died Sunday, November 9 at the age of 84. Grady Barnhill ("Grady") was born at his maternal grandparents' home near Buena Vista, Georgia, on August 24, 1930, to Henry Grady Barnhill and Jean Hogg Barnhill, who made the family home in Whitakers, North Carolina. Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Sarah Carolyn Barnhill, four children, Grady Michael Barnhill and wife Allison of Charlotte, and their children, Jordan and Paul; Stephen Drew Barnhill and his fiancée Anne Gould of Lexington; Kevin Scott Barnhill and wife Lisa of Raleigh and their children Taylor, Graham and Caroline Grace; Carol Kelly Barnhill Templeton and husband Scott of Winston-Salem and their children Sarah and Kelly; and a brother, Jimmy Hamilton Barnhill and wife Karen of Winston-Salem.
Grady attended Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College] in Wilson, N.C., where he was a member of the basketball team and assistant manager of the football team. In 1949 he transferred to Wake Forest College and after completing one year, entered the School of Law for one semester before enlisting in the Air Force as a private. Upon completion of flight training as a Radar Observer and being commissioned a Second Lieutenant, he was stationed at Presque Isle AFB, Maine, flying primarily in two-seated jet interceptors. Upon discharge in 1955 as a First Lieutenant (later Captain in the Reserves), Grady returned to the School of Law, worked in the Library, clerked for Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in the summer of 1957, and on assigned research tasks thereafter, and graduated in 1958 at the head of his class, receiving an LL.B. cum laude (later converted to a J.D.) degree. During his years at Wake Forest, Grady was a member of Phi Kappa Alpha and Phi Alpha Delta fraternities and played on several championship intramural basketball and football teams.
After joining Womble Carlyle as an Associate in 1958, Grady was privileged to work on cases with many outstanding lawyers, including B. S. Womble, Pen Sandridge, Irving Carlyle, Leon Rice, W. F. Womble, Sr., Calder Womble, Charlie Vance, Wade Gallant, Les Browder and Murray Greason. Invited to become a Partner in 1962, Grady devoted his career to the litigation of cases, both large and small, in the State and Federal Courts of North Carolina, as well as handling cases arising in numerous other States and in England, Hong Kong, Peru and the Dominican Republic. For twenty years, he served on the Womble Carlyle Management Committee as well as head of the Litigation Section, during which time the firm grew from thirty attorneys to one hundred seventy-three attorneys with offices in Winston-Salem, Raleigh, and Charlotte. Grady held an intense quiet pride that today there are more than five hundred attorneys in Womble Carlyle offices in 12 cities.
Professional honors and activities included induction into Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1977 (State Chairman 1986-88; Admission to Fellowship Committee); recipient of the Advocate’s Award for Professionalism of the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2009; recipient of the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award of North Carolina State Bar in 2012; member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and recipient of Western North Carolina Chapter 2014 Lifetime Achievement award in the Administration of Justice, outstanding Trial Lawyers; American Counsel Association; Life Fellow of Fellows of the American Bar Foundation; listed in Best Lawyers in America for more than 30 years, in 2014 was listed in Best Lawyers in America in Litigation involving Bet-the-Company; Commercial; Banking & Finance; Mergers & Acquisitions; Securities; Trust & Estates and Personal Injury. In 2012 he was listed by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year Litigation – Banking & Finance, Greensboro, NC. In 2013, he was listed by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year Litigation – Trusts & Estates, Greensboro, NC; listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers 2008, Business Litigation; one of two attorneys in North Carolina listed on the national "Client Service All Star Team" published by BTI Consulting Group, 2002; listed in Business N.C. Legal Elite, Litigation, 2001; listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law;
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Professional honors and activities also included admission before the United States Supreme Court; permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference; member of the United States District Court for the Federal Circuit; member of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation; admitted in the United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of N.C.; membership in the Antitrust, Tort and Insurance, Litigation, Economics and Space Law sections of the American Bar Association at various times; served as a member of the Local Rules Committee and the Magistrate Judge Selection Committee of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina; member of the North Carolina Bar Association and Litigation Section and Senior Lawyers Section; member, Chief Justice’s Commission on the Future of the North Carolina Business Court; member of the North Carolina State Bar; Defense Research Institute; North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Charter Member;
Local activities included serving as President of Forsyth County Bar Association, 1979-80; member of Forsyth County Bar Association Long Range Planning Committee (1988-89) and other committees; Wake Forest University Board of Visitors (Life Member) and the Law Alumni Association; Chief Justice Joseph Branch Inn of Court, Master of Bench and founding Director. In 1996, Womble Carlyle named a room in the North Carolina Bar Center in Raleigh in his honor, a much treasured recognition. In addition to lecturing at the North Carolina Bar Association Practical Skills course for eight years, he made numerous presentations individually or on panels at the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Wake Forest University School of Law Continuing Legal Education programs and for the North Carolina Bar Association. Improvement of the Judicial compensation structure was of perennial interest and effort, including service on the Judicial Advocates Committee.
Grady had a special attachment to the Members of the Demon Deacon Fishing Bunch (both old and the young) and to the Members of the Winston-Salem Ad Hoc Committee which is composed of civil and criminal trial lawyers from law firms small and large, the purpose of which, aside from the comradery with members of the Bar, is to elect highly qualified Judges without regard to party affiliation, and to support the Forsyth County Superior and District Court Judges, District Attorney and Clerk of Court on issues of local interest such as renovation of the existing, and construction of a new, Hall of Justice.
He was an avid tennis player and devoted many years to coaching Little League baseball. Grady was a Member of the Winston-Salem Rotary Club, served as a Director of the North Carolina Stroke Association and in 1967 as Chairman of the Board of Deacons of Reynolda Presbyterian Church. At the time of his death, he was and had been for a number of years, a member of First Presbyterian Church.
The family will be at Salem Funeral Home Main Street Location in Winston-Salem on Tuesday November 11 from 5-8p.m. The service will be at First Presbyterian Church, 300 North Cherry Street, Winston-Salem, at 1 o'clock on Wednesday, November 12. Memorial contributions are suggested to Wake Forest University School of Law, Post Office Box 7260, Reynolda Station, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27109 or Senior Services, 836 Oak Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, or the charity of one's choice.
The family would like to express its appreciation to the doctors and staff of Baptist Hospital, Hospice & Palliative Care of Winston Salem and Bayada Home Health Care.
Online condolences may be made at www.salemfh.com