Memorial program to honor distinguished members of the S.C. Bar

January 10, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 10, 2012) — Distinguished past members of the S.C. Bar will be memorialized at the annual Memory Hold the Door ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Established in 1958, this annual memorial provides an opportunity for the S.C. Bar and USC School of Law faculty to recognize and honor distinguished deceased members of the Bar and continue funding an endowment at the USC School of Law for scholarships, lectures, research and academic programs. The S.C. Bar Foundation has graciously contributed to the USC Educational Foundation in honor of those memorialized.

The honorees represent a true honor roll of the legal profession, selected by their peers as best exemplifying the qualities of integrity, professionalism and skill required of the bench and bar.

The ceremony is held in conjunction with the annual S.C. Bar Convention, taking place Jan. 19-22 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and will treat attendees to an account of the lives and contributions of the following honorees:

Roy D. Bates, Ridgeville, SC
Hon. Walter B. Brown Jr., Columbia, SC
Hon. Mary E. Buchan, Mullins, SC
Cotton C. Harness III, Orangeburg, SC
Leo H. Hill, Greenville, SC
Hon. Matthew J. Perry Jr., Columbia, SC
Gene V. Pruet, Columbia, SC
Prof. Charles H. Randall Jr., Columbia, SC
Hon. Wyatt T. Saunders Jr., Laurens, SC

The South Carolina Bar, which has a membership of more than 14,000 lawyers, is dedicated to advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.


Roy D. Bates
Roy D. Bates was born June 7, 1933, in Ridgeville, SC, to parents Beatrice Tucker Bates and Emmett C. Bates. He graduated from Denmark High School, where he was president of the student body and class valedictorian. He was an Eagle Scout. Bates earned a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Carolina and was a member of Epsilon Lambda Sigma engineering honor society. As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, he served on active duty in the Atlantic Mine Force. In 1960, he received a law degree from USC School of Law, where he was editor of the law review and an officer in Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.

Bates pursued his legal career with the firm of Marchant, Bristow and Bates and actively practiced law for more than 45 years. He was the city attorney for Columbia for 23 years. He assisted in drafting Home Rule statutes for municipalities and served as special and corporate counsel to the S.C. Municipal Attorneys Association for more than 30 years. His duties included providing legal opinions on municipal issues and participation in preparation of manuals on eminent domain, forms of government, business licenses, elections, annexation, planning and zoning, and parliamentary procedure for reference and training municipal employees and elected officials. He argued or filed briefs in numerous cases before the S.C. Supreme Court and testified before congressional and legislative committees on pending legislation affecting municipalities. Bates will long be remembered by attorneys representing municipalities as one who shared his knowledge unstintingly and graciously.

Bates served as trustee, treasurer and president of the International Municipal Lawyers Association and received the Charles S. Rhyne Award in Municipal Law. He was a past president of the S.C. Municipal Attorneys Association and an honorary member of the S.C. City and County Management Association. He lived in the Town of Arcadia Lakes and was the town attorney for many years.

He was an active member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Sunday School teacher for the Frank Harden Class. He formerly served as moderator and chair of the board of deacons and personnel committee at North Trenholm Baptist Church.

Roy D. Bates died on April 20, 2009. He is survived by two children, Brian T. Bates (daughter-in-law, Ginger) and Nancy B. O’Connor (son-in-law, Cian); daughter-in-law Suzanne H.B. Mueller, widow of predeceased son Stephen P. Bates; and six grandchildren. He preceded his wife, Sarah P. Bates.

Hon. Walter B. Brown Jr.
The Hon. Walter “B.” Brown Jr. was born April 10, 1947, in Columbia, SC, to parents Clara A. “Tan” Miller Brown and Walter B. Brown Sr. A native of Winnsboro affectionately known as “B,” he was educated at Mount Zion Institute and Winnsboro High School. In 1969, he received his B.S. degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina, where he was president of his freshman class and a member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. After service in the National Guard, he earned his Juris Doctorate from USC School of Law in 1973, becoming the third generation of attorneys in his family.

Upon graduation, “B” joined the law practice of Sen. John A. Martin. He was city attorney for the Town of Winnsboro prior to his election as a family court judge. Judge Brown served the Sixth Judicial Circuit until his death. He was past president of the S.C. Conference of Family Court Judges and in 2006 was the first family court judge to be honored by the S.C. Association for Justice (formerly known as the S.C. Trial Lawyers Association). During his tenure as an attorney and as a judge, he supported families through the legal process. His commitment to parents and children reflected his own devotion to his family.

Judge Brown was an elder, deacon and trustee at Sion Presbyterian Church. He was formerly on the board of directors of the Bank of Ridgeway and Richard Winn Academy. He was a member of the Army National Guard and the Boy Scouts of America and was a member and president of the Winnsboro Rotary Club and the Winnsboro Cotillion Club. A loyal alumnus of USC, “B” was a member of the Gamecock Club. He was an avid golfer and tennis player.

The Hon. Walter B. Brown Jr. died on July 6, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Harvey W. Brown; two children, Frances B. Anderson (son-in-law, Van) and Katherine B. Wolfe (son-in-law, John); and one grandson, John R. “Jack” Wolfe Jr.

Hon. Mary E. Buchan
The Hon. Mary E. Buchan was born September 26, 1952, in Mullins, SC, to parents Clara Webb Buchan Maxwell and James R. Buchan. She received her B.A. degree from Presbyterian College. She attended the University of South Carolina Graduate School and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the USC School of Law in 1980. In 1982, she formed Whittington & Buchan with Edward W. Whittington Jr. in Mullins, SC. In 1992, she was elected family court judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit in Marion.

Judge Buchan was a member of the S.C. Bar, Marion County Bar Association, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, S.C. Family Court Judges Association, S.C. Women Lawyers Association and Commission on Judicial Conduct. She was admitted to practice in all S.C. courts and in the U.S. District Court for the District of S.C. Judge Buchan served on the board of directors of Davis National Bank and was a member of Friends of the Marion Museum, Pee Dee Academy Parent-Teacher Association and various other committees. She was a member of Marion Presbyterian Church, where she served as deacon, elder, Sunday School teacher and member of the Endowment Committee.

The Hon. Mary E. Buchan died on July 4, 2007. She is survived by her husband, Ernest M. Graham Jr.; daughter, Martha A. Graham; step-daughter, Rebecca E. Graham; step-son, David M. Graham; and her mother, Clara Webb Buchan Maxwell.

Cotton C. Harness III
C.C. “Cotton” Harness III was born April 24, 1949, in Humbolt, TN, to parents Liz Harness and Connie C. Harness. A native of Orangeburg, he received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the USC School of Law.

Harness’ leadership on mediation reshaped the practice of law in South Carolina. “He was clearly the father of mediation in South Carolina and a nationally recognized leader in the field," stated Lewis Burke, who teaches alternative dispute resolution at the USC School of Law.

Harness had more than 30 years of trial experience and was instrumental in promoting dispute resolution systems for organizations, both private and governmental. He became a certified mediator in 1982. When the S.C. Council for Dispute Resolution (SCDR) was formed, Harness began working with those interested in ADR, primarily in mediation. Harness and the Council later participated in Settlement Week in Charleston in 1991. Due to the success of that pilot effort, the ADR Committee went on to draft the Court-Annexed Mediation Rule, which was approved by the House of Delegates in 1992. As a result of that action, the acting Chief Justice at the time, David Walker Harwell, and the president of the S.C. Bar, John Hagins, formed a Supreme Court Joint Commission on ADR, which began writing mediation and arbitration rules that began to be implemented in 1995. Today, although the mediation rule has been altered from its original form, it is because of Harness’ vision that it exists.

In addition to his mediation work, Harness was also known for his environmental law practice. He was general counsel at the S.C. Coastal Council (SCCC). While with SCCC, he argued Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council before the U.S. Supreme Court, a famous case that established the “takings test for determining whether a regulatory action constitutes a regulatory taking that requires compensation.”

In later years he represented members of the regulated community as well as others who interacted with environmental law. “I met Mr. Harness early in my career at the School of Law in the context of an environmental mediation project. He was always happy to come share his wisdom with the students of our law school and spoke eloquently at various symposia over the years,” reports Kim Diana Connolly, who teaches environmental law courses at the USC School of Law.

C.C. “Cotton” Harness III died on April 25, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Julie C. Harness, and four children, Thomas E. Hamer Jr., Joseph A. Harness, Kristen H. Bower and Erin H. Burnett (son-in-law, Josh); and a granddaughter, Madison.

Leo H. Hill
Leo H. Hill was born May 26, 1927, in Greenville, SC, to parents Edna O. Howard Hill and Forrest K. Hill. After graduation from high school in 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, he attended Erskine College where he served as president of the Philomathean Literary Society. In 1952, he received his Juris Doctorate from USC School of Law. While in law school, he was elected vice president of the USC student body and was a member of Wig & Robe.

Hill then returned to Greenville, where he continuously practiced law for 58 years. At the time of his death, he was of counsel to Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, LLP.

In 1968, Hill became the youngest president in the history of the S.C. Bar. Through the Bar, he worked to help create the public defender and legal services agencies to serve indigents in need of legal representation. He was also instrumental in modernizing South Carolina’s bail bond laws.

He was awarded the Compleat Lawyer Gold Medallion Award from the USC School of Law and the Tommy Thomason Award from the Greenville County Bar Association, and in 2005 he received the Durant Distinguished Public Service Award from the S.C. Bar Foundation. In the latter part of his career, Hill focused his practice on government law, representing numerous cities, water and sewer districts and other public service districts throughout the state. He received awards for meritorious service from the S.C. Association of Public Service Districts and the S.C. Rural Water Association.

Hill was one of the early leaders in promoting arbitration and mediation as a way to resolve legal disputes and was often called upon to serve as an arbitrator and mediator throughout South Carolina and the United States. He was honored for his work by the American Arbitration Association and attended the renowned Harvard Law School Negotiation Course.

Hill served as a board member of the Piedmont Health Care Foundation, Inc. and the Dunlap Orphanage. He was a member of the Greenville A.R.P. Church, where he was a former deacon and Sunday School teacher. He was a member of the Erskine Alumni Board, and he and his wife received the President’s Award for service to Erskine College.

Leo H. Hill died on April 21, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Dr. Grace L. Garrison Hill; three children, Lillian H. Watson (son-in-law, Robert), Leo H. Hill Jr. (daughter-in-law, Anne) and Judge D. Garrison “Gary” Hill (daughter-in-law, Amanda); and seven grandchildren, Andrew G. Pinto, Caroline G. Pinto, James D. Hill, Lucille T. Hill, Henry L. Hill, Garrison P. Hill and John D. Hill.

Hon. Matthew J. Perry Jr.
The Hon. Matthew J. Perry Jr. was born August 3, 1921, in Columbia, SC, to parents Jennie Lyles Perry and Matthew J. Perry. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Judge Perry was drafted into the U.S. Army and served his country in World War II. After the war, Judge Perry earned his undergraduate degree in 1948 and law degree in 1951 from South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University). He was a member of the Alpha Iota Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Judge Perry then opened his law practice in Spartanburg, where he based his practice until approximately 1961. Judge Perry returned to Columbia in 1961 as Chief Counsel of the S.C. State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In private practice and in his role with the NAACP, Judge Perry tried numerous pivotal civil rights cases.

In 1956, Judge Perry pursued what would be his first civil rights case, Flemming v. South Carolina Electric and Gas Co., in which he sued a bus company after an African-American woman, Sarah Mae Flemming, was struck by a bus driver for refusing to move to the back of the bus. In another famous case, Judge Perry successfully litigated the integration of Clemson University in 1963 when Harvey B. Gantt was denied admission to the school based on race. In 1972, he won a reapportionment case, which resulted in the creation of single-member legislative districts in South Carolina. As his legal career progressed, Judge Perry would eventually play a central role in almost every case that integrated South Carolina’s public schools, hospitals, golf courses, restaurants, parks, playgrounds and beaches. He individually tried more than 6,000 cases, and his work led to the release of nearly 7,000 people arrested for protesting various forms of segregation.

In 1976, Judge Perry became the first African-American lawyer from the Deep South to be appointed to a federal bench when he was recommended for a position on the U.S. Military Court of Appeals. He became South Carolina’s first African-American Federal District Judge when he was appointed to a position on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in 1979.

In 2004, the Matthew J. Perry Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Columbia was named in Judge Perry’s honor through the efforts of Congressman James E. Clyburn. In addition to this great honor, Judge Perry received numerous other awards, including the prestigious Order of the Palmetto, South Carolinian of the Year, Thurgood Marshall Award, War Horse Award (Southern Trial Lawyers Association/American Board of Trial Advocates) and William R. Ming Advocacy Award (NAACP). Judge Perry was a member of Zion Baptist Church in Columbia.

The Hon. Matthew J. Perry Jr. died on July 29, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Hallie B. Perry, and son, Michael Perry (daughter-in-law, Alesia).

Gene V. Pruet
Gene V. Pruet was born June 6, 1924, in Waurika, OK, to parents Eunice Davis Pruet and Earl D. Pruet. He obtained an engineering degree in 1947 and a law degree in 1949 from the University of Oklahoma, where he lettered in track. He served in the U.S. Navy, Pacific Rim, during World War II.

Pruet was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 1950 and to the S.C. Bar in 1952. He had a successful career as both litigator and tax attorney and was one of the founding partners of Nexsen Pruet, formerly Nexsen Pruet Jacobs & Pollard. He retired in 1992 and moved to Falls Church, VA.

He was a devout Christian and a member of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill in Alexandria, VA, and St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Columbia, SC. He was an avid golfer, belonging to the Spring Valley Country Club in Columbia, SC, and the Washington Golf and Country Club in Washington, DC. He was also a lifetime member of the Sooner Club and was a fan of Sooner football.

Gene V. Pruet died on November 28, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Beth S. Pruet; three children, Margaret P. Brewer, Mamie B. Pruet and Earl D. Pruet (daughter-in-law, Martha); seven grandchildren, Gene Ratliffe, Ann R. Sommer, Dayton T. Pruet, Leigh Ball, Mike Taylor, Lindsay Taylor and Bo Taylor; and six great grandchildren.

Prof. Charles H. Randall Jr.
Prof. Charles H. Randall Jr. was born January 12, 1920, in Boston, MA, to parents Mary Ethel Randall and Charles H. Randall. A decorated World War II veteran, Col. Randall received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, 2nd Lieutenant, aerial navigator, flying missions over the Atlantic against German submarines and a B-17 to Italy by way of Brazil. In 1973, Col. Randall was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.

He retired in 1980 from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Colonel. In 1996, he was awarded the commemorative medal “The 50th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War” (WWII) in recognition of his courage and personal contribution to the allied support of Russia during her fight for freedom against Nazi Germany. The medal was awarded by then-president Boris Yeltsin.

Prof. Randall received his A.B. in economics from Harvard College and his L.L.B. and L.L.M. from Harvard Law School. He was a member of the New York Bar, Massachusetts Bar, American Bar Association, S.C. Bar, Richland County Bar Association and a permanent member of Judicial Conference, U.S. Court of Appeals, for the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

He was faculty assistant in charge of the Ames Competition at the Harvard Law School and was a member of the elite Harvard Law School Emeritus Club. Prof. Randall was also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tulane University and George Washington University. He served as a member and, for a period, chair of the S.C. Judicial Council, the leading state agency for judicial law reform. He was a former member of the S.C. Law Enforcement Training Council. For many years, he was a hearing officer for the Department of Energy, Savannah River Operations Office. He was a member of the Kosmos Club and Dr. Raymond Moore’s Monday Lunch Group.

During his tenure as acting dean of the USC School of Law, he served with great distinction during a very difficult period, managing a series of budget cuts and maintaining the quality of the faculty. He was chair of the Law School Tenured Faculty Committee and long-time chair of the law school’s admission committee. He was named the prestigious James F. Byrnes Professor, an appointment that was renewed for a second term. His courses included constitutional law, environmental law, judicial remedies and estate planning. Prof. Randall was instrumental in establishing environmental law as a course at the USC School of Law.

He was a founding member and executive committee member of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court, a chapter of the national organization formed due to the efforts of then-Chief Justice Warren Burger, U.S. Supreme Court, who asked Prof. Randall and others to form this Inn.

Prof. Charles H. Randall Jr. died on January 29, 2010. He is survived by three children, Lee R. Cathcart, Jeanne E. Randall and Constance R. Rollins (son-in-law, Eddie). He was preceded by his wife, Claire L. Randall.

Hon. Wyatt T. Saunders Jr.
The Hon. Wyatt T. Saunders Jr. was born September 20, 1942, in Winston-Salem, NC, to parents Gladys McCall Saunders and Wyatt T. Saunders. From 1960 to 1962, he attended Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, and earned his B.A. degree from Presbyterian College in 1965. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University in 1968.

Judge Saunders was a retired judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of South Carolina. He began his career as an attorney in 1968 and practiced until 1994. From 1972 until 1992, he held the position of city attorney for the City of Laurens, and from 1994 until 1998, he served as counsel for the Commission of Public Works, past president of the Laurens County Bar Association and family court judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. He was then elected circuit court judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit in 1998 and served until his retirement in 2009.

He was a member of First United Methodist Church of Laurens, Sherlock Holmes Society, Rusemont Society, Chattooga Conservancy and Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity.

The Hon. Wyatt T. Saunders Jr. died on September 29, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Laura H. “Holly” Saunders; three daughters, Laura M. Saunders, Lillie S. Broome (son-in-law, Lee) and Leigh S. Little (son-in-law, Benjamin); and a grandson, Wyatt Little.