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Allan Head Portrait Presented

Allan Head Portrait Presented

Allan Head addresses audience at portrait presentation ceremony.

The N.C. Bar Center was filled to capacity on Thursday, Oct. 27, for the presentation of the portrait of Allan B. Head, who is retiring at the end of the year after 43 years of service to the North Carolina Bar Association, including the past 35 years as executive director.

President Kearns Davis presided over the event and accepted the portrait on behalf of the NCBA. Reflections were provided by Chief Justice Mark Martin of the N.C. Supreme Court, NCBA Past President Gene Pridgen, and Executive Director Jeff Davis of the State Bar of Georgia.

“On a personal note,” Martin stated, “I couldn’t be more thankful for the help you gave me as I transitioned into the role of chief justice, and you helped collaborate on a shared vision with the judicial branch. Your energetic and enthusiastic leadership of the NCBA was critical to setting that vision on a successful path.

“Over the past two years, NCBA leadership worked tirelessly to urge legislative leaders to provide adequate funding to the courts. Today, we’ve returned our courts to their pre-recession operating budgets and provided our judges and judicial branch employees with salary relief.”

“These were benchmarks,” Martin concluded, “that everyone in this room supported, and we wouldn’t have achieved them without your dedicated efforts and the incredible staff you’ve assembled over 43 years.”

Speaking on behalf of his fellow past presidents, Pridgen cited several of the outgoing executive director’s most endearing attributes, especially his faith.

“If you know Allan,” Pridgen said, “you know about his deep faith. No one prays more frequently or more eloquently or with more sincerity than Allan. He did, after all, choose between the law and the ministry.

“Maybe, just maybe, he chose both.”

Jeff Davis served double duty in representing the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents, which includes North Carolina and Georgia, and the National Association of Bar Executives, of which Head is a former president.

“If Allan is a rock star in the National Association of Bar Executives,” Jeff Davis said, “then I’m a groupie. I have been executive director of the State Bar of Georgia for just shy of three years, and I marvel at anyone who could be a bar executive for 43 years.

“I am honored to be here today representing the State Bar of Georgia, our 48,000 members, and also every bar, voluntary and mandatory, local and specialty, around the country. It is an honor and a privilege to stand here today on behalf of all of them.”

Allan Head, left, and portrait artist John Seibels Walker.

The portrait was unveiled by the eight grandchildren of Allan and Patti Head, after which the honoree addressed the Dorsett Auditorium audience and attendees who watched in the conference rooms and galleria of the bar center.

“So here we are two months and three days until retirement,” Head stated. “Forty-three years, 43 Boards of Governors, 43 presidents, 215 Board of Governors meetings – and I never missed one.

“I am reminded of what Paul said to Timothy: Finish the race. Finish strong. Make what’s left count … and keep the faith.”

The invocation was provided by Senior Pastor Christopher Edmonston of White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. The benediction was provided by Senior Pastor Darren Lambert Enterprise Baptist Church in Littleton, which is where the Heads attend church when they travel to their second home on Lake Gaston.

Also in attendance was portrait artist John Seibels Walker of Charlotte, who maintains a teaching studio in Lucca, Italy. Walker’s previous commissions include governors of North and South Carolina, chief justices of North and South Carolina and chief judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

The portrait and unveiling ceremony were made possible by gifts from NCBA past presidents, current and past members of the NCBA Board of Governors, the N.C. Advocates for Justice, the N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys and the N.C. League of Municipalities.

Allan Head is a graduate Wake Forest University and the Wake Forest University School of Law. He joined the staff of the NCBA as executive secretary on Dec. 1, 1973, following four years of military service as a lawyer assigned to the U.S. Army Security Agency in Kassel and Augsburg, Germany. 

A former officer and treasurer of the Wake County Bar Association, Head has also served as a member of the board of directors of the YMCA of the USA; as president and member of the board of directors of YMCA of the Triangle; as a member of the Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia) Board of Directors (Cary); as a deacon and elder at White Memorial Presbyterian Church; as chair of the Camp Kanata (YMCA) Advisory Board; as stadium announcer for Wake Forest University and Broughton High School football games; and for more than two decades as an advisor for the Presbyterian Church’s Appalachian Service Project, leading senior high mission trips (home repair ministry) to the impoverished coal-mining regions of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Awards and honors presented to Head include the Bolton Award (2010), the highest honor presented by the National Association of Bar Executives; the Father of the Year Award (2014), selected by the Raleigh Father’s Day Council; the James Iredell Award (2015), presented by Campbell Law School’s Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity; the N.C. State Bar’s Distinguished Service Award (2015); the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (2015); and the Pete Moffitt Courage Award presented by the Wake Forest University Athletics Department (2016).

Allan and Patti Head have been married for 49 years. They have three children, David, Darryl and Jayme, and eight grandchildren: Carlyn, Reed, Charli, Hayden, Clara, Arturo, Chandler and Danielle.