Your community matters

The Honorable I. Beverly Lake

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


WAKE FOREST — The Honorable I. Beverly Lake, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, 85, died Sept. 12 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Wake Forest on Jan. 30, 1934 to Dr. I. Beverly Lake Sr. and Gertrude Bell Lake.

He graduated from Wake Forest College in 1955 and from Wake Forest School of Law in 1960. Justice Lake received honorary doctor of law degrees from Campbell University and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Justice Lake's distinguished career spans five decades and includes vast public service. He was a devoted servant of the legal profession and of the people of North Carolina. Justice Lake served two terms in the North Carolina Senate, as assistant and deputy attorney general for the N.C. Department of Justice, as legislative liaison for Gov. Jim Martin, as a special Superior Court judge, and as an intelligence staff officer for the United States Army. Justice Lake was the state Republican Party's nominee for governor in 1980. He served as Chief Justice from 2001 to 2006.

Justice Lake was the founder and chairman of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, which led to the creation of a state agency called the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. This commission has reviewed hundreds of cases, exonerated persons who had been wrongly convicted, and has been a model for similar efforts in other states.

Justice Lake loved God, our country, his family, and his many dear friends. He loved his dogs, walking in the woods, and Wake Forest football and basketball. He taught his children and grandchildren to love all these (though some have cheered for N.C. State) and to pull for the underdog, in sport and life. He had a wonderful sense of humor; he once dribbled a basketball down the hallway at the N.C. Supreme Court to celebrate a Deacon win over rival UNC.

Justice Lake is survived by his wife, Susan Lake, his children, Lynn Elizabeth Lake, Laura Ann Lake Neal and her husband Thomas, and Isaac Beverly Lake and his wife Beth, and his grandchildren, Joshua Thomas Neal and his wife, Nicole, Jordan Paul Neal, Addison Bell Neal, Ian Lee Silberman, Zachary James Silberman and his wife, Jenny, Isaac Beverly Lake, Amanda Elizabeth Smith, Grant Isaac Smith, and Mollie Emma Smith. He was predeceased by his stepson, Guy Vernon Smith.

The family wishes to thank the nursing staff at Springmoor Retirement Community and Amedisys Hospice of Wake County for their kindness, compassion and thoughtful care. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Amedisys Hospice of Wake County.

The family received visitors on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at Bright Funeral Home in Wake Forest. A memorial service was held at the Wake Forest Baptist Church in Wake Forest on Monday at 2 p.m.

A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 405 S. Main St., Wake Forest.