R.C. Soles, former N.C. Senator and attorney, dead at 86

TABOR CITY (WWAY) — Former North Carolina senator and Tabor City attorney, R.C. Soles Jr. died on Friday.

According to Inman Ward Funeral Home in Tabor City, the 86-year-old’s body was taken there from McLeod Loris Hospital in South Carolina.

The democrat served on the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1969-1976, and then the North Carolina Senate from 1977 to 2011.

In August of 2020, Soles said his health was failing, and requested to be transferred to disability inactive status by the North Carolina State Bar. According to his physician, he showed signs of profound hearing loss and other physical limitations as well as several chronic illnesses.

Edwin Russ, a former Columbus County Commissioner remembers the day after his election, when Soles came to see him. According to Russ, Soles was a well-known figure in the community.

“And I said, darn, this is Mr. Soles coming in here. And he came in, shook my hand, and congratulated me on winning the election. And said he heard a lot of things about me and said, ‘ I think you’d make a good commissioner. Just keep your nose clean, and do what you think is right for people in the county.”

This congratulations came after Soles was accused of obtaining bribes, conspiracy vote buying, and perjury back in 1983.

The charges were later dismissed, but Soles was always considered a controversial figure in Columbus County.

In 2016, Soles was accused of assault and battery by one of his former law clients. The client alleged Soles grabbed him by the throat, pushed him against a wall, and beat him with a cane.

Years before, in 2009, one man came forward saying Soles molested him as a teenage boy.

And in 2013, as the oldest living tenured member of North Carolina Senate at the time, Soles was awarded and then denied the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious governor-given awards in the state.

Richard Wright, a former North Carolina Representative summed it up, “For a person who at the time he didn’t run, was the longest serving member of the legislature in history, so many of his decisions after he did not run…. how do I say this…. made him much less than the revered person he could’ve been.”

For a look at the former senator’s lengthy career, the StarNews created a timeline from 1971 to 2010.

According to the Inman Ward Funeral Home, funeral arrangements are still being made today.

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