Hamlin Landis Wade ’52

Hamlin Landis Wade died December 22, 2018.

Ham was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, February 26, 1930 to the late Julius Jennings “Jake” Wade and Mary Hamlin Landis Wade. Ham was a lifelong Charlotte resident.

Ham was a gentleman lawyer, trusted and respected by his clients and colleagues. He began his law career in 1957 in a clerkship for the Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and then joined the Charlotte law firm where he worked for the rest of his long career.

He treated the practice of law as a noble profession and didn’t retire from Ruff, Bond, Cobb, Wade & Bethune until he was 87 years old, partly because of the 60-year habit but also because he loved being a lawyer, helping clients, and being with his law partners. He was proud to be the attorney for the Mecklenburg County Tax Office and often provided legal services at no charge to non-profits and for the Mecklenburg County Bar, where he served as President in 1982-83.

Ham was a humble man. He didn’t care to be the center of attention, nor to receive accolades for his service and achievements, but his peers voted him to presidential and other positions at Alexander Graham Junior High School, Central High School and Davidson College, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and the fraternity honorary council.

Ham was born into a family that loved sports, “anything with a ball.” At Davidson, he was a four-year monogram letterman in football and he was a good tennis player, but his lifetime passion was golf. He played many a golf game with friends and family at his favorite course, the Donald Ross layout at Charlotte Country Club. In his last month, he was on the sidelines pulling the Davidson Wildcats to wins in football and basketball.

After Davidson College, Ham served two years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army with the 82nd Airborne Division, where he jumped out of planes only because it paid a little extra. He then graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, where he was President of the Class of 1957.

Civic life was as regular to Ham as watching sports. He was a member of the Mecklenburg Optimist Club (formerly North Mecklenburg) for more than 60 years and knew by heart and lived well the opening lines of the Optimist Creed: “Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind, to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet, to make all your friends feel that there is something in them, to look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.”

Ham was generous with his charitable giving, supporting many worthwhile causes. He had a 60-year connection with the Salvation Army, where he served as a Board member and did anything needed, including ringing the kettle bell to raise money for the Christmas fund. Ham’s spiritual life was important to him. He was a longtime member of Christ Episcopal Church, where he served on the Vestry, twice.

Ham had a lifelong love affair with Wrightsville Beach, starting at an early age where he served as a lifeguard outside his grandmother’s hotel, The Landis. He set his calendar around the family’s annual trip to “the beach” and spent many summer vacation days trying to catch fish he didn’t care to eat. Going for a “boat ride” or trolling for big ones just off shore with a full cooler, was about as close to heaven Ham got during his lifetime.

But even more than beach life, Ham loved being with his family. He and his wife Julia could “cut a rug” better than anyone in the family, especially to beach tunes. He loved listening to his daughter Jenny play the piano, marveled at how his son Eddie could fix anything, and made sure the “bet was right” on every golf outing he shared with his son Landis. To the grandkids, he was Hambone, and they turned him into a cheerleader at recitals, baseball, football and softball games, musical events, school programs, and graduations, and they also enjoyed having him as a playmate for trick or treating, Disneyworld, trout fishing, golf trips, and board games like Rummikub. And he loved dogs, too.

Ham was a compassionate man who listened without judgment. His friendly nature and Southern manners followed him everywhere. He had an easiness about him that drew his family and friends close, and he melded into his new Cypress community with ease and enjoyment. He was forever loyal to his family, church, friends and profession. He brought comfort to his family and friends and he will be missed. 

Ham is survived by his beloved wife, Julia Kennedy Wade; his children, H. Landis Wade, Jr. (Janet); Edward Kennedy Wade (Mandy) and Jenny Wade Cianciola (Tim); his grandchildren Jordan Leary Wade (Julia); Hamlin Landis Wade, III; William Kennedy Wade (Kallie); Kennedy Chevalier Wade; Harper Chevalier Wade; Michael Paul Cianciola; Joseph Charles Cianciola; his great-grandchild Jaxson Kennedy Wade; sister in law, Sara Hunter Wade; and his godchild, Jessica Coyne Rodarme (Heath).

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Carrie Maie Wade Roberts and husband James L. Roberts, and his brother Julius Jennings “Jake” Wade.

The family is grateful for the excellent medical care and loving support provided by the doctors and nurses at Carolinas Medical Center, the Memory Center, Perspective Health & Wellness, Hospice of Charlotte, the Cypress, and Christ Episcopal Church ministerial staff.

A memorial service will be at 2:00 PM on Friday, December 28, 2018 at Christ Episcopal Church, 1412 Providence Road. The family will receive friends at the church following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, 4015 Stuart Andrew Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Dec. 24, 2018