Holshouser inducted into NC Bar Hall of Fame

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — The N.C. Bar Association inducted former Superior Court Judge John L. Holshouser into its Hall of Fame during a ceremony this week.
Holshouser, who retired from the bench in August, was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues at the Thursday ceremony, which was held in Asheville during the Bar Association’s annual meeting.
“It was truly a magical evening. Without a doubt the honor was the capstone of my career,” Holshouser said.
The award was presented by his son, Dr. Warren Holshouser, of Charlotte. About 150 people attended the event.
Holshouser was one of five people inducted.
“John is one of those attorneys who can do it all. He is one of the smartest attorneys I have known. His grasp of legal issues and the nuances of factual situations are outstanding. He epitomizes all of the best qualities of the small town general practitioner — friendly, intelligent, hard working and well versed in all areas of the law,” said former Rowan District Attorney Bill Kenerly in his nomination letter.
“The profession has been enriched and our community rewarded by John’s career. He has distinguished himself as a respected attorney, good citizen, devoted family man and fine gentleman,” said Salisbury attorney Richard Reamer in his nomination letter.
A native of Chapel Hill, Holshouser received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After graduating from law school in 1963, Holshouser joined the FBI as a special agent serving posts in Illinois and Ohio. During his tenure with the FBI he helped capture one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives. For his participation in the capture of Charles “Blackie” Harris, Holshouser received a commendation from J. Edgar Hoover — the first FBI director.
In 1966, Holshouser set up a private law practice with a fellow FBI agent. In 1968, he served a two-year term as District Court judge. For the next 35 years, he practiced law in Rowan County.
In 1990, Holshouser was appointed as the county attorney. In 2005, he was elected as Resident Superior Court Judge, until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.
Fellow Judge W. Erwin Spainhour said in his nomination letter that Holshouser, during his time on the bench, “became known as a thoughtful, unflappable, gentlemanly and compassionate person who always treated with respect those who appeared before him.”
During his career, Holshouser was involved with the state and local bar associations. He served as president of both the 19th Judicial District Bar Association and the Rowan County Bar Association. Holshouser also served as chairman of the Bar Candidate Committee of the N.C. Board of Law Examiners.
Instead of retiring, Holshouser returned to law and today serves as an associate with the Salisbury firm Kluttz, Reamer, Hayes, Randolph, Adkins and Carter.
Three members of his firm attended the ceremony — Glenn Hayes, James Randolph and Randy Reamer. That was a complete surprise, since they’d all told him they had prior commitments.
“When they walked in the door, it rattled me,” he said.
Holshouser called the ceremony a wonderful night.
“I had to pinch myself. It absolutely is the greatest honor I’ve ever received,” Holshouser said.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.