Naomi E. Morris *


Atlantic Christian College (Barton College) - B.A. in English and Spanish
University of North Carolina School of Law - J.D.



Judge Naomi Elizabeth Morris was born in the Nash County community of Spring Hope. When she was a year old, her family moved to Wilson where she attended the public schools. She matriculated at Atlantic Christian College (later renamed Barton College) and obtained her B.A., majoring in English and Spanish in 1943. Following her undergraduate studies, Morris moved to Washington, D.C. to work in the Signal Corps, decoding messages during World War II.

Following her work with the Signal Corps, Morris returned to Wilson and came to work at the firm as a legal assistant. Morris’ course took a definite change when William A. Lucas, one of the firm’s founding partners, asked her to step into his office to take a letter. Lucas instructed Morris to “Address it to Dean Brandis at the Law School in Chapel Hill.” Whereupon Morris took down a letter in which Lucas recommended that she be admitted to the law school. This was the first that Morris had heard of the idea and the beginning of her legal career. Morris graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina Law School in 1955, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review and initiated into the Order of the Coif.

Upon her graduation and admission to the bar, Morris returned to the firm where she engaged in a general practice of law. In 1967 she was appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and served as Chief Judge from 1978 through her retirement in 1982. Morris’ civic endeavors span from her active involvement in local organizations to holding a number of state-wide positions. She was dedicated member of Wilson’s First Baptist Church; an appointee and secretary on the Trustee Commission for the Consolidated University System; Vice President of the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey; and held the office of Vice President of the North Carolina Beautification Committee. Morris’ was an individual with a variety of interest, and an active sportswoman. She was affectionately known by several nicknames, most notably “Peanut”, a sobriquet which followed from childhood throughout her life.

In 1987, the Judge Naomi E. Morris Memorial Scholarship was established at the UNC School of law as a lasting tribute to Morris’ remarkable career.