A new portrait honoring the late attorney has been added to the courthouse
Posted at 10:42 a.m. Friday, March 3, 2023
Friends and family of Billy Mayo will gather this afternoon (Friday, March 3) at 4:00 PM at the Beaufort County Courthouse to unveil a portrait of the respected attorney.
Mayo, a graduate of Washington High School, was a former attorney for the cities of Belhaven and Aurora.
One of his old friends, Tom Archie, will speak at the unveiling of the portrait. He and Mayo had known each other since the fall of 1968, when Archie moved to the area after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Mayo was also an alumnus.
Ahead of the opening, Archie shared with the Daily News that Mayo often helped him early in his career, pausing to answer a question or find information and resources.
“They called a gentleman’s lawyer,” said Archie. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Billy lose his temper. He was always quiet and very much a gentleman. I think that’s something we’re sorely missing, at least I did in the last years of my legal practice…”
A joke he shared with Mayo was calling each other “Dr.” Archie was calling Mayo’s office and asking if the doctor was there. The joke was related to Archie’s law degree in 1968 being the first to receive a Juris Doctor instead of a Master of Laws, or LLM.
Other law schools in North Carolina followed suit and began replacing LL.M. degrees with J.D. degrees. When Mayo replaced the degree, Archie joked, “Well, Dr. Mayo, I think that’s wonderful.” Mayo replied with a laugh, “Thank you Dr. Archie.”
Archie thinks that Mayo’s portrait being added to the Beaufort County Courthouse is wonderful. “I think the local bar association decided to do this very well. I am very pleased that this is happening.”
Don Stroud, a public defender in Washington, D.C., was chosen to select the artist for Mayo’s portrait, Mike Bennett of Martin County, whose work can be seen throughout the Southeast, including the Rex Cancer Center in Raleigh, municipal buildings, churches and other institutions.
“As wonderful as you may think this portrait is, and as stellar as Mr. Mayo’s career, they do not compare to his greatest legacy — the exceptional family that carries on his legacy of Christian ministry,” Stroud said.
According to the obituary, Mayo served in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Washington High School.
“He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina (AB 1949, LLB 1953, JD 1969). He was on the staff of the NC Attorney General’s Office from 1954 to 1956, served as an administrative assistant to the NC State Bar and Board of Examiners from 1956 to 1957, and was a prosecuting attorney in the Beaufort County District Court from 1957 to 1968. in 1965 was President of the Second Judicial District of Beaufort County and Assistant Solicitor of the Superior Court from 1965 to J.968. He was president of the J.98 J. North Carolina District Attorneys Association and served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board from 1970-1985. He was awarded the Order of the Pine with a long letter for the state of North Carolina and was inducted into North Carolina. Carolina State Bar Hall of Fame. He received the Outstanding District Attorney Award in 1982, the NC Bar Association Award in 1999, and was Beaufort County District Attorney from 1968 to 2014. He first practiced law with his father, John A. Mayo, and later with his son, William P. Mayo, Jr., at Mayo & Mayo Attorneys in Washington, North Carolina.”
Mayo died at the age of 94 on October 17, 2020 at his home in Washington.