Attorney retires after 43 years practicing in Mocksville
By Mike Barnhardt
A shelf at the back of Grady McClamrock Jr.’s office holds more than just law books.
It holds letters, notes, trophies and more – all thank-you gifts from clients for going that extra mile or rewards for deeds he accomplished since he began practicing law here in 1977.
It means more to the retiring attorney than some of his high-profile cases won for clients.
McClamrock is one of a dying breed – an old-time country lawyer. And on Dec. 23, he retired, although he will maintain an office with the Terry Law firm to keep up with ongoing cases.
Grady McClamrock Jr. is a Davie County boy through and through – having grown up near Dutchman Creek off US 158, a son of Grady McClamrock Sr. and Sylvia McClamrock. He graduated a Rebel from Davie High School in 1970.
It wasn’t long before he got into some legal trouble. He remembers giving an attorney $350 to help him get out of that trouble, and when it worked, he thought it may be his career.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from N.C. State University. He clerked in the law office of George Martin and Hank Van Hoy one summer, and fell in love with the law and practicing in a small town. He earned his juris doctor degree from Wake Forest University in 1977.
He was sworn in by the late Judge Lester P. Martin Jr. He was sponsored by his parents and the county attorney, John T. Brock.
But none of the lawyers in Mocksville needed any help, so he offered to rent space from John Brock, who eventually hired him.
“We had a wonderful practice until he retired and have had a wonderful and encouraging relationship for 43 years,” McClamrock said. Back then, the office – as was the tradition for many – closed on Wednesday afternoons, but was open for a half of a day on Saturdays.
“A lot of the merchants in town closed Wednesday afternoons to be open for the rural folks to come shop on Saturday,” he said. “John and I did income tax returns and deeds for $35, real estate closings ran from $75 to $150. If you didn’t blow more than a .15 you could have any DUI reduced to a reckless driving charge and most assault cases were dismissed after a cooling off period.”
Boy, how things change.
He practiced with Brock until 1990, when he opened his own office across from the courthouse on South Main Street in Mocksville.
He has practiced law for 43 years here, representing all types of clients and cases, including criminal, domestic, disability, government, estates, civil litigation and real estate.
“Through the years I have been privileged to practice with and against some of the old-time true country lawyers, including John T. Brock, George W. Martin, William E. Hall, Peter W. Hairston, Butch Zimmerman, Harrell Powell, Franklin Smith, John Hall and others who I consider legal giants.”
Brock, Van Hoy and Ed Powell were mentors, he said. They taught him “the value of finding the truth, solving problems rather than creating them, and serving my community.”
One of his hardest and most satisfying cases was when he and Attorney Sally Smith saved a young Davie man from the death penalty. He also helped a local man gain full custody of their child, a rarity in the legal world at that time.
Over the years, he’s represented Davie County Hospital, the Davie Child Support Agency, several churches, numerous small businesses, and many farm families from across the county.
He’s no stranger to volunteer service, either. McClamrock served with the Heart Association, the Davie County Hospital Foundation, Davie Community Foundation, Davie Republican Party, Bank of Davie, N.C. Bar Association, Davie Little League and Boy Scouts.
He is an active member of Mocksville First United Methodist Church, where he has been a member for 43 years and served as trustee, board member, attorney, bus driver, a member of the mission team and a Sunday School teacher.
“I am proud of my efforts to build a new hopsital and high school, support our veterans and remove some politicians from office. Davie County has been very kind and generous to me and I have the best clients any lawyer could wish for, most of whom are modest, conservative and the backbone of our community.
“I have never had a day when I hated to go to work and each day brought a new challenge and opportunity to make someone’s life a little better. Being able to work on the bright side of the courthouse gave me a front row seat to see, through the years, our community grow, thrive and prosper. I am proud to have been a part of it and my family benefitted from it.
“The love and support of my wife Cathy, family and friends have enabled me to keep my focus on the best for all of us.”
“I intend to live long enough to have a full and rich retired life and spend time chasing grandkids, cows, parents, riding whatever I can find to whereever I want to go. I love Davie County and am not leaving here, but I will be a little harder to find.”