John Brock gets overdue honor

Published 1:13 pm Thursday, December 31, 2015

A few months ago, Julia Howard got into the Christmas spirit a little early.

She started looking for folks deserving of a gift from the state of North Carolina for the gifts they had given to their community.

As she was looking over the list of past recipients for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award given to North Carolinians by the governor’s office, she noticed a name was missing. She was so surprised that this person had never been honored with this award that she called one of his daughters to be sure that he had not received the award before the list was made.

No, she found out, he had never received the award. In true Julia Howard fashion, she set about to correct this omission.

On Sunday, Dec. 20, at the annual Brock family Christmas gathering, Julia, and the recipient’s nephew, State Sen. Andrew Brock, presented a surprised John Brock with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is an honor bestowed “To inspire and encourage acts of kindness, charity and service to others by recognizing North Carolinians who have demonstrated exemplary service or made an exceptional contribution to the state or their communities.”

Howard said that this particular award was long overdue and apologized for its tardiness. Andrew Brock added his comments saying that while traveling the state, he is often asked if he is related to John Brock.

Andrew Brock said that these folks he meets have “admiration and respect for the things Uncle John did when he was serving the county.”

John Brock served Davie County in many ways.

From 1960-1992, he served as county attorney. During a few of those years, he also served as county judge.

He has served on several local and state boards including the N.C. Ethics Board.

As county attorney, he guided the county through many changing times. He was there giving advice when the county school system was integrated in the 1960s. Despite some reluctance by one or two members of the board, he encouraged them to go ahead and integrate with the building of the new county high school.

This also happened to be the time that his own small children were starting school. With that change, his children would never know the divide of racial segregation.

When Mr. Brock became Judge Brock, he made an announcement his first day on the bench that everyone was welcome to come and sit on the main floor of the courtroom. Until that time, black members of the community had always sat in the balcony.

He has always had a strong sense of fairness and duty, said his daughter, Robin Brock.

He has been retired for 15 years. He has had the opportunity to travel many places with Mary, his wife of 58 years. They have made a home and contributed much here in Davie County over the last 58 years.

Now, they spend most of their time at home looking forward to visits from children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His current service is caring for Mary as they travel together through her battle with Altzheimer’s disease.

“I am sure that there are many others who are deserving of this special award presented to John Brock but certainly, he is one of the most deserving,” said his daughter.