Thad A. Eure
Prior to his service as secretary of state, Eure served as mayor of Winton, NC, and as a state legislator. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan recognized Eure as having held public office longer than any official in the nation at that time, with more than 64 years of continuous service. In his later years, he was known as the "oldest rat in the Democratic barn." Ironically, in his first run for the office of Secretary of State, he asked voters to "give a young man a chance."
Eure was to become the last remaining living member of the NC legislature to have voted to approve the establishment of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in 1929. During his tenure as Secretary of State, Eure was asked by Highway Patrol leadership to give the swearing-in oath of office to graduating troopers in each basic school class at the NC Highway Patrol School, which was first conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill and later in Raleigh at the present campus on Garner Road. Eure would proudly address each class and he signed each individual trooper's oath certificate in his trademark green ink. When his physical condition weakened in 1985, then-NC Governor James Martin assigned a trooper to drive Eure to and from work each day and troopers joked that they would stab each other in the back to have a chance to drive Mr. Eure around.
Eure also served on the board of trustees of Elon University from 1942 to 1989 (chairman, 1955-1989). He was not a graduate of that institution, instead attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because he wanted to earn a law degree. Elon did not have a law school until the 21st century. Eure also was credited for the creating the "Long Live Elon" end to each speech and address.