Zebulon Doyle Alley, age 84, of Waynesville and Raleigh, passed away at Rex Hospital in Raleigh on Thursday morning, July 11, 2013. He was born in Sylva on Aug. 9, 1928 to Doyle Davis Alley and Edith Purcell Alley. He is survived by sons Doyle D. Alley II, Randall G. Alley and wife, Ann M. Hoover, granddaughter Miranda Alley, brothers John (“Jack”) Hampton Alley and Charles Purcell Alley, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister Corrine (“Connie”) Killian Withers. Zeb was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, an uncle and a grandfather. He was a war hero, an FDR democrat, a Tar Heel, a lawyer, a state senator, a mentor to many and one of the most successful legislative lobbyists North Carolina has ever seen. He had a legendary wit and a gift for story-telling, demonstrated great skill in strategy and negotiation, but above all, he had an infectious love of life, family and people in general. He was loyal, generous to a fault, and a friend to everyone he met, humans and cats alike. His brother Charles recounted that many times he told his family and friends “You’ve got to be good to people.”
He received his BA degree in 1953 and LLB degree in 1955 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1948, to help ease the family’s financial difficulties, Zeb interrupted his education and joined the Army. He left active service in 1950, entering the enlisted reserves, and prepared to return to UNC. However he was soon called back to active duty when the Korean War broke out, and within two months found himself in his first firefight serving as a forward observer in the 38th Infantry Regiment. On March 3, 1951 he was involved in an intense battle in which he distinguished himself heroically, risking his own life for his fellow soldiers. He was seriously injured, but recovered, and carried pieces of shrapnel in his back, head and neck the rest of his life. He was awarded the Bronze Star with the “V” device for valor and the Purple Heart for his service. He returned home with a renewed enthusiasm for life and college.
Zeb began his legal career as Assistant Director of the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill and later as an associate in the law offices of future NC Supreme Justice Joseph Branch in Enfield, NC. He was North Carolina attorney at the Federal Land Bank in Columbia, SC before returning home to Waynesville to begin his own law practice. Eventually, he formed a partnership with his nephew Leon M. “Chip” Killian. He practiced there for approximately 20 years before moving his practice to Raleigh. Like his father, Zeb engaged in the general practice of law, helping people with all the serious and occasionally humorous legal problems of a small town. In 1971, Zeb was elected to the NC General Assembly as the senator from the district including Haywood County. He sponsored legislation lowering the voting age to 18 and improving minimum housing standards for migrant laborers. In 1981, Zeb became Legislative Counsel to Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., where he assisted in the passage of seat belt legislation in 1986 and the Good Roads Act providing revenue to repair potholes and improve the State’s road system.
His past public service also included serving as the Chairman of the State Capitol Foundation Board of Directors, Chairman of the Task Force on Governmental Relationships of the Board of Visitors of the UNC Chapel Hill, a member of the NC Board of Alcohol Beverage Control, and commissioner of the NC Courts Commission. As Legislative Counsel at the State Legislature, he ranked high for the Krispy Kremes he brought in frequently for legislators and staff. His St. Patrick’s Day parties became legendary, as did his master recipe for his eastern North Carolina barbeque, despite being a mountain boy from Waynesville.
There will be a celebration of Zeb’s life at the NC State University Club in Raleigh on Tuesday evening, July 16, at 6pm. Services will be held at Wells Funeral Home in Waynesville on Sunday, July 21. Receiving will begin at 2pm with the service at 4pm. The interment will follow in the Veteran’s Plot of Green Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the VFW Relief Fund, VFW Dept. of NC, www.vfwnc.org – See more at: https://www.wellsfuneralhome.com/obituary/Zebulon-Doyle-Alley/Raleigh-NC/1224796#sthash.42z0NqQH.dpuf