Beloved longtime law professor Dr. Stanley McQuade dies at 89

RALEIGH — Beloved law professor Dr. J. Stanley McQuade died on Thursday after an extended illness. McQuade, who retired in 2015, was an institutional icon who taught generations of Campbell University lawyers.

He was 89.

“Dr. McQuade was truly a giant in the Campbell circles,” said Britt J. Davis, vice president of Institutional Advancement for Campbell University. “He was absolutely beloved by so many in the law school community, as well as the broader university community. He was a fixture in Keith Hills for decades. He was a true Renaissance man, a lawyer, a physician, and a preacher. He was an amazing fellow.”

A native of Northern Ireland, McQuade was born in 1929 in Bangor. He earned his law degree with top honors from The Queens University of Belfast in 1950. He received BD, BA, PhD and MD degrees from the same university, as well as a master’s degree in theology from Union Theological Seminary. He became a certified anesthesiologist, practicing in Western North Carolina before coming to Campbell University in 1978 to join the then fledgling law school.

In his early years of teaching law, McQuade continued to serve formally as an anesthesiologist at a local hospital and informally served as the primary care doctor for faculty and staff, their children and students.

Dean Emeritus and Professor Pat Hetrick, who retired in May 2015 with McQuade, recalls the days when McQuade would show up to teach an early morning Torts class in his hospital scrubs after spending a night working in the ER I (video below). 

An author of nine books and numerous journal articles, McQuade in his BePress biography said he found all of his background studies and experience helpful to his teaching at Campbell. He was a pioneer in online legal education, an early adopter of computer-assisted learning and in developing distance-learning programs.

One of his specialties was teaching lawyers how to read medical records. He conducted seminars on that topic throughout the United States, Great Britain and Ireland. He taught courses in legal philosophy, legal history, torts, products liability and medical records.

“Stanley was probably the only faculty member in the history of the law school who was universally loved,” Professor Emeritus Richard Lord wrote recently in an email. “Every student he taught considered him the epitome of a truly good human being, and no one ever said a disparaging word about him as a person, something that is unheard of among students, (and especially among law students). For many folks associated with Campbell, Stanley was the heart of the law school.”

He also served as an ordained Methodist minister for more than 50 years, but rarely as the pastor of a particular congregation. His students and colleagues, however, attest that he provided countless hours of spiritual counsel to his law-school parish.

Professor Richard T. Bowser wrote a dedication to McQuade in the 2015 edition of the Campbell Law Review. An excerpt follows:

“I first met Dr. McQuade in January 1988. I was in the Dean’s Suite in Kivett Hall. I had just finished my admission interview with Professor Charlie Lewis and was waiting to speak to the Dean of Admissions, Tom Lanier. I was there with another applicant when Dr. McQuade walked in. Without an introduction (or any other word for that matter), he said, ‘I’ve been informed that there is only one spot left in next year’s class and I’ve been sent here to tell the two of you that that spot will go to whichever of you wins the arm wrestling match. Are you ready?’ I had no idea at that moment how much that man would mean to me from that moment on.

“By his second year on the faculty, he was teaching Jurisprudence, Torts, and Law and Medicine. Those fields, along with legal history, have been the matters of scholarly interest for Dr. McQuade for 38 years. While jurisprudence has been his greatest scholarly contribution during his years on this faculty, there is no doubt that his greatest contribution to the law school and its constituents has been the giving of himself. He has been — at one and the same time — the law school’s doctor, pastor, and friend.”

Dean Emeritus and Professor Melissa Webb Essary, who McQuade helped make the trailblazing move of the law school from Buies Creek to downtown Raleigh in 2009, added, “I have been blessed to call Dr. McQuade my colleague and friend. Importantly, for all who love Campbell Law, he was incredibly important to its past and present successes. I will personally miss him beyond words.”

School of Law Dean J. Rich Leonard fondly recalls that in the early days of his deanship, McQuade gave him unwavering support at faculty meetings.

“He told me, ‘I don’t pay much attention to what goes on there, but I always support the dean. I will sit beside you and vote when you say so.’ And he did.”

McQuade is survived by his wife, Frances of 63 years; his son, William McQuade; his daughter, Shonagh Weems; grandchildren, Jonathan, Maria, Thomas, Brandon, Meredith, Erika and Austin; and great-grandson, Robert.

A Memorial Service for Dr. McQuade will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Memorial Baptist Church (271 Leslie Campbell Avenue, Buies Creek, NC 27506). Reception to follow the service in the fellowship hall.

Memorial gifts can be made online to the J. Stanley McQuade Law Alumni Scholarship established by Patricia (P. R.) Moss JD ‘82 or sent in care of Campbell University, P.O. Box 116, Buies Creek, NC 27506.