Allan Bruce Head

May 15, 1944February 17, 2018
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Allan Head’s courageous 3-year battle with cancer is over. The longtime Executive Director of the North Carolina Bar Association died on February 17, 2018, at the age of 73.

Allan was a native of Atlanta and son of the late E. Putnam “Put” Head and Tillie M. “Skip” Head. He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Patti Reed Head; their son David Head and his wife Marti, and their children Carlyn, Charli, Clara and Chandler, of Charlotte; their son Darryl Head and his wife Karin, and their children Reed and Hayden, of Winston-Salem; their daughter Jayme Sanchez and her husband Arturo, and their children Arturo and Danielle, of Houston, Texas. Allan is also survived by his brother, Brian Head, of Falmouth, Mass.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 2:00 pm at White Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1704 Oberlin Rd. Raleigh, NC. The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

A second service will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 11:00 am at Enterprise Baptist Church, 404 Enterprise Rd., Littleton, NC. The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

Allan graduated from Sandy Springs High School in 1962 and proceeded from Atlanta to Wake Forest University, where he was a member of the track team and participated in the ROTC program. He graduated in 1966 and entered the Wake Forest University School of Law. Allan and Patti were married on June 10, 1967, and he graduated from law school in 1969. The Heads spent the early years of their marriage living in Germany, where Allan was a lawyer assigned to the U.S. Army Security Agency in Kassel and Augsburg.

The Heads returned to North Carolina in 1973 as Allan embarked upon his 43-year tenure with the NCBA. He joined the staff of the NCBA as Executive Secretary on December 1, 1973, and served as Executive Director from 1981 until his retirement on December 31, 2016.

Allan Head’s career was marked by a number of accomplishments, including construction of the N.C. Bar Center in Cary, home of the NCBA and the North Carolina Bar Foundation since 1994. Additional milestones include the establishment of the NCBF Endowment, the implementation of NCBA Sections, the addition of the Senior Lawyers and Paralegal Divisions, and ongoing recognition of the NCBA as one of the finest bar organizations in the nation. He was so proud of the legal profession, the NCBA leaders he had the honor of working with and for, the Bar Association Staff (whom he referred to as family), and legacy of service to North Carolina that he felt the NCBA stood for at its core.

As one of the longest-serving bar association executives in the nation at the time of his retirement, Allan was an important figure among bar leaders and administrators. He served as president of the National Association of Bar Executives in 2006-07 and received the organization’s highest honor, the Bolton Award, in 2010. Allan also served on multiple ABA Task Forces and Committees to advance the profession.

Allan received numerous other awards closer to home and across the state, including: the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, presented by Gov. Pat McCrory at the NCBA Annual Meeting (2015); the Pete Moffitt Courage Award (2016), presented annually to a Wake Forest University student-athlete, coach or alumnus who has displayed tremendous courage in the face of adversity; the Father of the Year Award (2014), selected by the Raleigh Father’s Day Council; the James Iredell Award (2015), presented by Campbell Law School’s Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity for contributions to the legal profession and Campbell Law School; the N.C. State Bar’s Distinguished Service Award (2015). The Allan and Patti Head Family was also inducted into the Broughton High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. The annual Broughton Football Coach's Award has been renamed in his honor as well.

A true citizen lawyer, Allan served as a member of the board of directors of the YMCA of the USA; as president and member of the board of directors of YMCA of the Triangle; as a member of the Wells Fargo Board of Directors (Cary); as chair of the Camp Kanata (YMCA) Advisory Board; and as stadium announcer for Wake Forest University football games for 4 years and Broughton High School football games for 27 years. In addition, he served more than three decades as treasurer and officer of the Wake County Bar Association, and was a member of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism at the time of his death.

Faith and church life were always prominent in Allan’s life and work. He served as a deacon, elder and treasurer at White Memorial, where the Heads maintained their membership for decades, and was thoroughly enjoying his involvement at Enterprise Baptist Church, which the Heads joined following Allan’s retirement as they began spending more time at their Lake Gaston home. Allan served for more than two decades as an advisor for the Presbyterian Church’s Appalachian Service Project, leading senior high mission trips (home repair ministry) to the impoverished coal-mining regions of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Allan had many interrelated professional and personal interests, including travel. He loved taking trips with Bar Association members throughout the United States and abroad, especially visits to the Holy Land, where he was baptized and baptized others in the River Jordan. He enjoyed collecting thought-provoking sayings and quotations, many of which he used in multiple editions of booklets he called “Head Notes.” Allan was especially fond of the following saying, “Always leave the campsite better than you found it.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the YMCA of the Triangle's Camp Kanata Capital Building Fund (Raleigh, NC) or to Enterprise Baptist Church Youth Missions Fund (Littleton, NC).

Rest in peace Allan, knowing full well that your campsites were left far better than you found them.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.


  • Memorial Service with a reception to follow

    Tuesday, February 20, 2018

  • Second Memorial Service with reception to follow

    Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Allan Bruce Head

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Stephen P. Gallagher

February 27, 2018

Allan and his friend, F. Leary Davis were leaders in the legal community for years. I remember visiting them both at the NC Bar Center. I felt that I was among giants of the profession. Faith and family were always #1 to each.

Bernard & Joyce Scott

February 22, 2018

Patti and Family, we are so sorry to hear of Allan's passing. We had wonderful thoughts thinking of our soccer years with you and Allan and the family. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers

Jennifer Hicks

February 22, 2018

We were privileged to have Allan serve many years on our Governor-appointed advisory Council at the NC Zoo. His wit and wisdom will be missed by many. Our deepest condolences to the family.
~The NC Zoo staff

February 20, 2018

it is difficult to express an adequate tribute to someone who has given so much to the legal profession and to the individual attorneys in North Carolina as has Allan Head. As a newly elected attorney to the General Assembly in 1979, I cannot forget his warm welcome to Raleigh and offering his assistance to me. It was greatly appreciated. Thank you, Allan for all your contributions over the many years as head of the NCBA. Charles D. Evans Manteo NC

Albert Diaz

February 20, 2018

I read with great sorrow of Allan's passing. He leaves behind a timeless legacy of outstanding service to the Bar and the larger community. I was privileged to know him--may he rest in peace and may God bless his wonderful family.

Baron Herdelin-Doherty

February 20, 2018

Patti, David, Darryl, Jayme: Allan was a great role model for all of us to live by - a wonderful husband, father and citizen. Even though we haven't seen you both in a long time, stories that Darryl would tell me about both of you raising your family in such a wonderful way will last with me forever. Allan will always be remembered as a great YMCA guy helping the movement locally and nationally. Please know that our hearts are with you during this tough time. Blessings, Baron and Lisa

February 20, 2018

On behalf of the National Association of Bar Executives, I want to convey our most heartfelt condolences to Patti and Allan's family. He was a shining light in NABE, and his wisdom, his sense of humor, and his presence will be sorely missed. Bob Craghead, NABE President

Christopher Behm

February 20, 2018

There is a huge hole left in many important organizations with Allan's passing. He is truly irreplaceable.

I had the good fortune of getting to know Allan with volunteer work with the North Carolina Bar Association, which might not still exist without Allan's vigorous work, wisdom, and leadership. All members of the legal community in North Carolina are better off that it does, and for Allan's life work in its support.

As a Wake Forest University School of Law alumnus, I'm also thankful for all of Allan's passion and longtime support for our school. But, I'm sure he's now proudly sporting the Black and Gold in a better place!

Our heartfelt condolences are offered to the entire Head and Sanchez families during this difficult time.

Ed Bunch

February 20, 2018

Allan was an inspiration to all of us in the legal profession in North Carolina. I will truly miss his smiling face, his wisdom, and his kindness. Condolences to his beloved family.

Denisse Gonzalez

February 19, 2018

I am so sad to hear of Allan's passing. I will miss seeing him around the NC Bar. Thank you to all your contributions, Allan! Rest in peace.


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