By MICAH HENRY
Bethlehem attorney Beverly D. Teague was honored on Thursday, May 18, during a special session of Alexander County District Court, Judge L. Dale Graham presiding.
Family, friends, and legal colleagues attended the session, which included remarks from members of the bar and a special portrait of Teague unveiled, which will be hanged in the Superior Courtroom in honor of her legal practice during the years 1988 to 2019.
“Alexander County has been blessed with jurisprudence over the years,” said Judge Graham. He recounted the legal careers of the late Romulus Linney, Tressie Boyd Pierce (one of the first women to pass the NC Bar), Hayden Burke, Edward Hedrick III, and Jerry Campbell. Judge Graham also recognized current attorneys Joel Harbinson and David Benbow and Judge Edward Hedrick IV, who was in attendance.
Judge Graham noted that Teague was born in Alexander County and went to secondary education at Lenoir-Rhyne College and Campbell Law School. She came back to this area to practice law with the Rudisill and Brackett law firm before setting up her own private practice in Bethlehem.
Harbinson recalled that he met Beverly Teague when he was in second grade and she was in third grade at Bethlehem Elementary School. He stated that he will always remember what he was doing when it was announced on Nov. 22, 1963, that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. “I was in the Bethlehem Elementary gym danding the Bunny Hop with Beverly, getting ready for the Fall Festival that night.”
He noted that Teague was the first person in her class to become an attorney.
Teague taught for several years at the then-West Junior High School before going to Campbell Law School. She is the only practicing attorney here from Campbell, he said.
Teague was also the first attorney certified by mediators in Alexander County and is a arbitrator and mediator.
Harbinson said that, with the portrait placement, Teague “joins a group of people who are very distinguished. I have always respected her.”
“Coming back here to be in the Courthouse felt like where I belong,” Teague said. “I’ve missed you guys. It wasn’t just me setting up that practice from scratch. The Sheriff’s Office, Clerk’s Office, Communications, and First Responders helped me, too. Jerry Campbell and Martin Kesler answered my questions. I’m so thankful for my friends here today.”
Teague said that her teaching years at West Junior High also produced a lot of her client base, many of whom were minors.
She related that Heather Hennessey was her first associate attorney and Heather is still involved in law.
“We had a good time but we also did a lot of hard work,” Teague recalled of her career. “I was there in Catawba County when the D.A. died in the courtroom. I’ve seen fights. I’ve been pepper sprayed. They don’t tell you that in law school!”
Teague concluded with a famous quote by one of her fellow attorneys: “The law is designed to protect you from other people’s negligence, not your own.”
She was joined by family members at the ceremony including her husband, Edward Bryant, and her mother, Mickie Teague.
Following the ceremony, a reception was held with refreshments provided by the law firms of Benbow, Davidson, and Martin and Ralston, Benton, and Byerly.