Fred Thurman Hamlet (February 28, 1947—February 18, 2021) grew up in Pittsboro, North Carolina and was a 1965 graduate of Pittsboro High School. He received his undergraduate degree with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, participating in Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to obtain his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1973. He was admitted to the bar in 1973, Georgia; 1977, North Carolina; and 1978, U.S. Supreme Court.
Fred practiced law for more than 45 years. Beginning his legal career in Atlanta with Fisher Phillips, he soon returned to North Carolina where he worked with the firm Nichols, Caffrey, Hill, Evans & Murrelle. In 1994, he opened his own practice where he remained devoted to his work until his final days. Fred provided advice to businesses and individuals on a broad range of labor and employment matters. A special interest in labor unions led to his involvement in matters that required him to enter into strike areas at the risk of physical violence. He also litigated matters that created employment law precedent in North Carolina and in the Fourth Circuit. His most notable trial involved representation of the City of Greensboro in the November 1979 Communists and Klansman clash known as the Greensboro Massacre.
He was a frequent seminar speaker on labor and employment law topics and took pride in being a guest speaker at Elon Law School, UNC Law School, and Wake Forest Law School. He was a preceptor at Elon Law and employed over 30 law clerks from Elon in his practice. He was a mentor to countless young attorneys who would seek his advice on a range of topics, from negotiating a salary to selecting a jury and discussing ethics issues. Throughout his career, he exercised prudence and demonstrated the highest standards of professional ethics.
Fred was predeceased by his parents, Curtis T. Hamlet and Blanche Justice Hamlet of Pittsboro, NC. Family members who survive him are his two children, Fred Thurman Hamlet, Jr. of Durham, NC and Alice Hamlet of New York City, NY, and his twin sister Margaret and her husband Bill Bingham of Garner, NC. Also left to cherish his memory are Sheila Dorsett of High Point, NC, his significant other of 20 years, and Nicole Patino of Asheboro, NC, his longtime dedicated associate attorney with his law practice.
Fred loved traveling with his children Thurman and Alice; his service as leader of the N. B. Justice Family reunion for over 25 years; vacations at Kure Beach with Thurman, Alice, Margaret, Bill, and Sheila; and, as a beach music enthusiast and shag dancer, his adventures with shag club friends in Greensboro and at SOS in Ocean Drive Beach, SC. He held fond memories of his earlier years in Chatham County (NC), especially exploring family and historical sites with his grandfather, Fred Justice. He was a Rolls-Royce enthusiast, collecting several vehicles through the years.
Fred participated in the Boy Scouts in his youth, earning his Eagle Scout, and served as a Scout Leader at the 16th World Scout Jamboree in Australia in 1987. He enjoyed the camping trips and outdoor adventures associated with the Boy Scouts and lived up to their motto, “Be prepared.” He was an avid college basketball fan and attended annually the ACC tournament for many years.
Flowers are welcome and memorial gifts may be made to Hickory Mountain Baptist Church Cemetery Fund (c/o Wade Hackney, 742 Arthur Teague Road, Siler City, NC 27344).
A graveside burial service will be held at Hickory Mountain Baptist Church (1094 Mount Vernon Hickory Mountain Road, Siler City, NC 27344) on Tuesday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m.
A virtual memorial service provided by West Market Street United Methodist Church of Greensboro, NC will be held at a later date.
Details available and online condolences may be offered at www.donaldsonfunerals.com.
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Hickory Mountain Baptist Church Cemetery Fund
742 Arthur Teague Road, Siler City NC 27344