John Twisdale, Former District Attorney, Dies At 83

SMITHFIELD – Former District Attorney John W. Twisdale of Smithfield passed away Thursday. He was 83.

Mr. Twisdale served as an attorney for more than 50 years. He was a former Town Attorney for both the Towns of Selma and Clayton.   From 1970 to 1990, he served as District Attorney for the 11th Judicial District, comprised of Johnston, Harnett and Lee counties.

John was a longtime member of the Smithfield First Baptist Church.  He was a member of Fellowship Masonic Lodge in Smithfield and the Sudan Temple Shrine Club in Selma.  He was also a farmer.

Retired Chief District Court Judge Andy Corbett said, “First of all, John was a man of his word. If he gave you his word you could count on it. I’ve known him for I don’t know how long. I know his family. I practiced law with him and use to see him as a DA (district attorney). I always found him as tough but a reasonable prosecutor. He has a nice family, wife and boys.”

“I served with him as Clerk and also attended East Carolina University with him,” said retired Johnston County Clerk of Court Will R. Crocker. “He was my friend. He was a great individual. Whatever he told you he would do. I knew him all my life. He will certainly be missed.”

Local attorney Jack O’Hale worked for several years as an assistant district attorney for Mr. Twisdale. “John Twisdale knew the people of Johnston County and he knew those people who needed a second chance or a break, as well as those people who needed to be prosecuted vigorously. John Twisdale always told me that you have to stand for something. John stood for what was right,” Mr. O’Hale said.

Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Tom Lock said, “John Twisdale was a giant of a man and a giant of a prosecutor with a voice that thundered across the courtroom when he argued to a jury. He served the people of this county faithfully for twenty years, which is no small accomplishment in light of the tremendous political and professional pressures on a District Attorney.”

“After I took the bench, John would drop by my office on occasion, and I think we both greatly enjoyed swapping war stories about former cases and our shared experiences. I don’t think you can really appreciate a man’s accomplishments until you’ve walked in his shoes, and I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to follow in John Twisdale’s footsteps. If there is ever a DA’s Hall of Fame, he should be in it,” Judge Lock said.

A private graveside service will be held on Sunday, Aug. 16th in the Wilson’s Mills Cemetery with Reverend Lee Colbert officiating.

Mr. Twisdale is survived by his wife of 56 years, Tucker Uzzle Twisdale; sons, Jay Twisdale and wife Jami of Raleigh, Jeff Twisdale and wife Chrissie of Clayton; his sister Jane Moe and husband Doug of San Antonio, Texas; and grandchildren, Wyatt, Thomas, Harrison, Ava and Bryce Twisdale.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the SECU Hospice House, PO Box 1377, Smithfield, NC 27577, The Masonic Home for Children, 600 College St., Oxford, NC 27565 or a charity of one’s choice.