Douglas G. Eisele, a longtime resident of Lake Norman and a Statesville attorney since 1966, died at Iredell Memorial Hospital on October 16, 2020, after a brief illness. Mr. Eisele was 84.
Born in Huntington, Ind., on April 24,1936, Mr. Eisele was the son of the late Emmett George and Corinne Kindler Eisele. He Moved to Statesville with his parents and his first six siblings in 1941 when his father came south to join P.S West construction company. Four other siblings would be born here during World War II. The former family home at 502 S. Mulberry Street for many decades was a hive of activity and conviviality.
Doug, as he was known, graduated in 1954 from Statesville High School, where he was a star wrestler. Unable to afford college, he went to work for the late J.P “Jay” Huskins, co-owner and publisher of the Statesville Record & Landmark, who trained Doug to become, as Jay described it, “a first-class reporter.” After working for Jay and saving his earnings for two years, Doug enrolled at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1956. There he worked as a reporter for the University News Bureau and, in his second year, become the first sophomore elected editor of the student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. He won the prestigious “Abernathy Award” in 1958 for outstanding contributions to student publications, and was admitted to an honor society, “the holy Grail.”
In the fall of 1958, Doug returned to the Record & Landmark and worked for the newspaper until January 1963, except for an active duty tour with the North Carolina National Guard. In January 1963, Doug returned to Chapel Hill and earned enough undergraduate hours to be admitted to the law school in June 1963. He finished law school in August 1965, having studied straight through, having written for the North Carolina Law Review, and having been selected the outstanding student in his class.
Doug served as a law clerk to the late Algernon Butler, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, from the fall of 1965 until summer 1966, in Clinton, N.C. He then joined the Statesville law firm of Raymer and Lewis. In 1986 Doug and James P. Ashburn formed the firm Eisele and Ashburn, which over time become Eisele, Ashburn, Greene & Chapman, where he was assisted ably for 43 years by his secretary Lee Johnson
Doug’s civil law practice took him to more than one-third of the counties in North Carolina. He appeared in state and federal courts from Maine to California; and on numerous occasions in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. He chaired a committee appointed by Chief Judge of the Western District Federal Court of North Carolina to rewrite the local rules for the District, which extends from Interstate 77 to the Tennessee border.
Doug was “a skilled lawyer with uncommon judgment and analytical skills” as a friend and frequent courtroom adversary of Doug’s said upon learning of his death. “He was absolutely fearless and tireless, I have regularly heard lawyers say that upon learning Eisele would be appearing for the opposition, they raised the estimate of their own fee because they knew more work would be involved. Doug Eisele had my utmost respect.”
Twice married, Doug and his first wife, Julene Resse of Birmingham Ala., had four children, Matthew D Eisele of Raleigh, Anna E. Shingleton of Asheville, Emily E. Lewis of Asheville, and Rebecca E. (Jay) Shingleton of Huntersville. Doug then was blessed with two more children, Christi Bissell (Rich Davis) and Shannon Bissell, upon his marriage to his second wife, Sally W. Bissell of Charlotte. Sally was a longtime teacher at the former Brookwood School in Statesville and later at Troutman Elementary school. Doug is survived by their twelve grandchildren.
Doug often said that working his way through college was one of his best experiences. Another was to watch until all of his children completed their college education and excelled in their chosen professions. Doug enjoyed travel, boating, gardening, and history, but his main hobby was the law. Gifted with a high IQ and an analytical mind, Doug could perform complex multiplication in his head and often amused his children by immediately alphabetizing the letters in any word they gave him. He told his children: “Whatever you do, do it with gusto.” Doug certainly did. Doug has been a member of St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Statesville since 1941.
Surviving Doug are three sisters and four brothers, Carolyn E. (The late F.M.) Brawley of West Palm Beach, Fla., Delores E. (the late Joe G.) Sink Jr. of Mooresville, Mary Frances (the late Michael H.) Kimel of Statesville, Jerome P. Eisele And wife Loretta of Port St. Lucie, Fla., John F. Eisele of Troutman, James P. (the late Rebecca F.) Eisele of Statesville, and Alan R. Eisele and wife Bonita of Statesville; and one brother-in-law, Bill Wiggins and wife Leslie of Charlotte. Doug’s eldest sister, Barbara E. Blood, died in 1970; a brother, David Eisele (Amy P.), died in 2019; and a sister Phyllis E. Smith (Eugene), died In 2020.
The family extends its deepest gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at Iredell Memorial Hospital for their wonderful care of Doug at the end of his life. They also would like to thank Doug’s large extended family and his many friends for their caring expressions of concern and sympathy.
There will be no formal memorial service for Doug at this time. Plans for a celebration of Doug’s life are expected to be announced in the spring of 2021. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.troutmanfuneralhome.com.
Troutman Funeral Home is serving the family.