Former Wake Forest Law School Dean Dies

Robert E. Lee, who was dean of the Wake Forest School of Law in the late 1940s and taught at the school for more than 30 years, died Thursday, Aug. 21, at Brookridge Retirement Community in Winston-Salem.

A prolific writer of law texts, including works on family law, Lee also earned attention for a biography titled “Blackbeard the Pirate” in the 1970s. He also was known for a long-running column titled “This is the Law,” which ran in North Carolina’s newspapers.

Lee, who retired from Wake Forest in 1977, was professor emeritus of law and dean emeritus of the school of law.

Former students and colleagues of Lee remember him as a dedicated educator and a caring man with a deep regard for his family.

Lee was among the “finest scholars” at Wake Forest, said professor of law emeritus James E. Sizemore. “He was admired by all the faculty.”

Wake Forest law professor Rhoda Billings described Lee as a “a demanding professor who loved both the law and his students.”

“He was demanding because he thought it would aid his students in mastering the law and make them better lawyers,” added Billings.

A Kinston native, Lee earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Wake Forest. Afterward, he also earned advanced law degrees at other institutions. In addition to Wake Forest, he also taught law at Temple University and elsewhere.

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