John Jordan Jr., lawyer and higher education champion, dies

John Jordan Jr., retired Raleigh lawyer and three-term state senator who was a champion of higher education, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 95.

Jordan was first elected to the state Senate in 1959 and served three terms, during which time he turned down per diem payments and lawmaker license plates. In 1964, he ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary against Bob Scott, who would later become governor.

Much of Jordan’s public service was dedicated to higher education, first as trustee of what was known as the Consolidated University of North Carolina. When the university system expanded to include more campuses in the early 1970s, Jordan was appointed to the new UNC Board of Governors, and became its longest serving member. He served on that board for 24 years, culminating with two terms as chairman in the early 1980s. He was a close confidant of the late UNC President, William Friday.

Jordan also headed the state’s Board of Social Services, along with many other nonprofit boards and government commissions.

A native of Winton, Jordan attended Chowan College and UNC-Chapel Hill, where he also earned a law degree. A recognized expert in banking law, he founded a Raleigh firm now known as Jordan, Price, Wall, Gray, Jones and Carlton.

Jordan is survived by his wife, Brenda Moore Jordan, two children and one step-son, and four grandchildren.