Howard E. Manning, Sr. (1914-2002)

As published in The News & Observer, November 24, 2002

Author: Andrea Weigl; Staff Writer

Legal Legend Dies

RALEIGH -- "He's a first-class lawyer. You can't scare him and you can't buy him."

Legendary Wake Superior Court Judge James H. Pou Bailey used those words 28 years ago to describe Raleigh lawyer Howard E. Manning Sr., who died Friday after suffering a stroke last week.

At his death at the age of 88, Manning left behind a reputation as a lawyer whose integrity and credibility led state officials to hand him the occasional unpopular assignment.

"He was there when the tough assignments were made," said John B. McMillan, a partner at Manning Fulton & Skinner. "People had great faith in him. They knew he would do exactly what was right."

In 1976, Bailey named Manning special prosecutor to evaluate possible tax fraud charges against Rufus L. Edmisten, a former N.C. secretary of state who at the time was running for state attorney general.

In 1983, the state Judicial Standards Commission asked Manning to investigate and prosecute Superior Court Judge Charles T. Kivett of Greensboro for misconduct while conducting trials.

In 1990, Manning received the unenviable job of representing N.C. State University in contract negotiations that led to the eventual ouster of beloved Wolfpack basketball coach Jim Valvano.

A few years later, the N.C. State Bar tapped Manning to investigate its longtime director, Bobby James, after questions arose about misuse of funds.

"I think at that time, the State Bar had lost some of its credibility," said Tom Lunsford, executive director of the State Bar. "We looked to Howard Manning to restore our reputation by taking a hard look at what had happened."

Beyond stepping up when no one else wanted the job, Manning, whose nickname was "The Bear," was known as one of North Carolina's great trial lawyers, having come into law at a time when lawyers had to know a bit about everything. His longtime law partner, Bill Skinner, described Manning as "one of the last great general practitioners."

Manning, a Chapel Hill native, came from a family with a long legal tradition since his grandfather, John Manning, founded the law school at UNC-Chapel Hill. Manning received his undergraduate degree from UNC-CH and then attended Harvard Law School. Three of his four sons also have become lawyers.

After four years in the U.S. Army, Manning returned to start his law practice. He had practiced in his Raleigh firm, now Manning Fulton & Skinner, since 1954.

The funeral will be 11 a.m. Monday at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 E. Edenton St. The burial in Chapel Hill will be private.

Copyright 2002 by The News & Observer Pub. Co.
Record Number: h62men89

 
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