July 9, 2023, 89, Mount Olive —
Oliver Wendell Alphin, age 89, died July 9th, 2023 after a good life filled with a successful career as a lawyer, a father, and a grandfather. His family and friends were his greatest joy and pride. He served his community with his time and talents.
Born on July 16th, 1933 on a farm in Duplin County to Fred Alphin and Clara Dail Alphin, where he was raised with 9 brothers and sisters. After high school, he joined the United States Army Security Agency. He served for three years in Tokyo, Japan, Korea, and Washington, DC during the Korean War. After his discharge from the military in 1955 he entered UNC Chapel Hill and received his BS in Business Administration in 1958. He received his JD with Honors from UNC Law School in 1961. He was a member of the Law Review staff as well as a member of the Order of the Coif, a prestigious society for law graduates. He was selected by Judge Az Butler of the United States District Court, to serve as his law clerk for one year. In 1962 he joined EK Powe and Travis Porter in Durham to practice law and continued for 30 years, during which time they built one of the major law firms in North Carolina.
Mr. Alphin was a member of Parkwood United Methodist Church in Durham and served in most of the positions of leadership of the church. He was active in the Republican Party, having served as Durham County Chairman and as a member of the North Carolina Republican Executive Committee. He was loyal to the University of North Carolina, both with his money and his time, being a generous donator and funding numerous scholarships. He was active in fundraising for the community and served on the UNC Board of Visitors and on the UNC Law School Alumni Association Board. He also served the Law School as an adjunct Professor teaching courses in real estate law. Later, he served his state by sitting on the Review Board of Occupational Safety and Health. Additionally, he served as an administrative law judge for the NC Department of Labor. He also served as a member of the North Carolina Property Tax Commission for four years.
His service on various boards and commissions in Durham was a mark of accomplishment and pride for him as a repayment to his community that had been good to him. Included was his service as the United States Commissioner for the Durham area.
Al Alphin, as he was known throughout his community and in the professional and business communities of the state, will be remembered as a devoted family man. Due to being raised in a large family, he developed a strong sense of family and family history. He was known to be able to recite the ancestry of even distant cousins and find links between people so far back as have been nearly removed from living memory.
His wife of 45 years, Billie Collins Alphin, died in July 2002. They met as students of UNC. He and Billie dearly loved the beach for many years and they made Topsail Island their second home. Upon retirement, they moved there full-time.
He was predeceased in death by his father and mother and by his sisters, Norma Rae Summerlin, Viola Winstead, Sallie Ruth Greenwood, and Peggy Swinson. He was also predeceased by three brothers: Donnell Alphin, Fred Alphin of Raleigh, and Jack Alphin of Raleigh.
He is survived by his children Alesia Rae Alphin, Wendy Alphin Jones, and Oliver W. Alphin Jr, as well as six grandchildren: Danielle Jones, Tyler Jones, Raney Jones, Oliver W. Alphin III, Blake W. Alphin, and Dulce A. Alphin. One brother survives, Reevis Alphin of Sanford. One sister survives, Clara Linda Smith of Clayton. Mr. Alphin remarried and is survived by his wife Eva Gant Alphin as well as two stepdaughters, Evie Veasy and Molly Grossman both of Durham. He is also survived by Eva Gant Alphin’s grandchildren, Max and Madison Veasy and Brandon Grossman. He is also survived by his many beloved nieces, nephews, and various degrees of cousins.
He will be remembered for his kindness, his generosity, and his empathy with the less fortunate. To him, financial success was not a status symbol, but an opportunity to share.
The Alphin family will be receiving friends Saturday, July 15, at Rooty Branch Free Will Baptist Church (the church in which Mr. Alphin and his siblings were raised) at 190 Beautancus Road, Mount Olive, NC. Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by a service of remembrance at Noon in the sanctuary. Burial will follow in the Alphin Family Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that Mr. Alphin’s life be remembered with memorial gifts to
Rooty Branch Church, c/o Cathy Rouse
1835 Red Hill Road
Albertson NC 28508
North Carolina Zoo
4403 Zoo Pkwy
Asheboro, NC 27205
Arrangements are with Tyndall Funeral Home, Mount Olive.