RALEIGH — The first woman to defeat another women in a race for U.S. Senate. The inventor of the ubiquitous UPC barcode. The pilot of Airwolf. Those are just a few of the notable North Carolinians who died in 2019.
In 2019, North Carolina lost several political leaders. Kay Hagan, a former bank executive who rose from the General Assembly to the U.S. Senate, died in October. Hagan defeated Sen. Elizabeth Dole to become the first women to face an incumbent female and win in a race for the upper chamber of Congress.
The Feb. 10, 2019 death of Walter B. Jones Jr. ended a political dynasty in eastern N.C. Either Jones or his father, Walter Jones Sr., represented eastern North Carolina in Congress for five decades. The elder Jones, a Democrat, represented the region from 1966 until his death in 1992. Walter Jones Jr., then also a Democrat, lost the party primary to succeed him. He became a Republican and was sent to Washington after the 1994 election. Following Jones’s death, many filed to succeed him in Congress. Ultimately Greg Murphy, who had served in the N.C. House, was elected to fill the Jones seat.
Former N.C. chief justice I. Beverly Lake, Jr. died in September. Lake also served in the General Assembly as a Democrat, was the GOP nominee for Governor in 1980 and served as the head of the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission.
Here’s a look at a list of notable North Carolinians who died in 2019:
Kay Hagan, 66, A former bank executive who rose from a budget writer in the North Carolina Legislature to a seat in the U.S. Senate. May 26, 1953 – October 28, 2019. Encephalitis from a tick-borne illness.
Walter B. Jones Jr., 76, A member of the U.S. House representing Eastern N.C. and former member of N.C. House. February 10, 1943 – February 10, 2019. Lou Gehrig’s disease.
George Laurer, 94, IBM engineer credited for inventing the UPC barcode. September 23, 1925 – December 5, 2019.
I. Beverly Lake, Jr. 85, A Former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. January 30, 1934 – September 12, 2019.
Janice Hardison Faulkner, 87, The first female N.C. Secretary of State. Died October 9, 2019.
Willis Frank Dowd III, 92, Philanthropist and former president of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. February 21, 1927 – November 1, 2019.
Clifton “Pop” Herring, 66, Michael Jordan’s high school coach. Died December 11, 2019.
Jan-Michael Vincent, 73, Actor known for “Airwolf” lived in Asheville. July 15, 1945 – February 10, 2019. Cardiac arrest.