IVIk/l I W I I I^| I
Doug Box ley's G
BY TERRY POPE
As a high school student, math, geometry, and
physics diun'i come easiiy for Doug Baxiey, but i'nai
didn't keep the Siler City teen-ager from trying.
It was with extreme patience that Baxley learned to
discipline himself to succeed in the difficult subjects he
(needed to pass in order to attend college.
Those lessons in discipline left an everlasting impression
on the Snaiiotte attorney, who was sworn in iasi
month as vice-chairman of the Brunswick County Board
of Education. Even before he decided to seek the Disirici
1 seat on the school board, Baxley, 38, was prepared for
the battle, having established his priorities in life years
Although he would rather have been studying history
or English, his favorite subjects, Baxley grew to appreciate
learning the difficult lessons as well through the
help of a high school math teacher, Murry Andrew.
"He was concerned about all students, whether you
were at the top of the class, or at the bottom," Baxley
said. "He embodied what teachers are suppose to be. He
was an inspiration. I had to work real hard to get through
At a time when student attitudes toward the military,
government or "the establishment" as a whole reached a
troubled phase during the Vietnam conflict, Baxley found
himself faring a key decision in life. As an undergraduate
at UNC-Chapei Hi" during the period 1964-68, Baxley
chose to enter the school's Air Force ROTC training program.
and to face whatever personal a'uure would come
from tne more hesl'l" students.
'I think there was a lot of unresi at the time on account
of the Vietnam situation," he said while relaxing in
the law library of his Shallotte office. In his Carolina blue
shirt pocket were two ink pens neatly clipped for handy
isss, adding the final touches to his blue nolvestpr
businessman s suit.
"It wasn't the most popular organization on campus
at the time. It was a period of time in which you had to
make some hard choices," he added, adjusting his
fingers to form an imaginary church steeple as he
reflected on the past.
But unlike most attorneys, Baxley doesn't talk with
his hands. Instead, they are sturdy features of his physiaue.
which inrlurip? n neatly-trimmed, off the csrs
hairstyle and a boyish, round face. A smile reveals a
slight part in his front teeth, the kind that would look
natural with a hav straw stuck in between?remnants of
his country' boy upbringing on a farm in Scotland County.
For at least 10 hours each weekday, this is Doug Baxley,
busy practicing law in a small-town environment,
altogether different from the area where he and his wife,
Olanne, spent three years on a military base In northern
Maine. Immediately after graduating from Chapel Hill,
Baxley married the nursing student and followed in his
father's footsteps by entering the servi'***
"I felt it was the right thing to do," he said. "All of
my family had served in the military. When it appeared
uie need was there 1 decided to serve my time."
The couple was stationed at Loring Air Force Base,
the most northern military base in the United States, just
two miles from the Canadian border. At the strategic air
command post, Baxley worked in control maintenance
"It's very different up there," Baxley said. "You
have very long winters, it's very cold, and you have lots
of snow. It was a very remote type of place. It took some
adjustment to get used to the weather and being away
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The self-discipline he had learned in high school, college
and now the Air Force would help him succeed in his
one goal in life, to become an attorney. Although his family
tree includes farmers, school teachers, businessmen,
and doctors (including his father), Baxley is the first
from his family to enter the legal profession. lie
graduated from the University of North Carolina law
School in 1975.
However, Baxley said it was educational to spend
some time in a different part of the country, surrounded
by potato fields and forests. As a child, the family had
vacationed at Holden Beach and nearby Pawleys Island,
S.C. It was Baxley's desire to :eturn to Brunswick County,
but first he had one goal to accomplish.
"I never really thought too much about it until I was
a senior in college," Baxley said. "My undergraduate
education ient itself more to that than any other thing."
As an undergraduate. Baxlev began taking several
pre-medical courses, but after deciding medical school
wasn't his goal in life, he settled for a degree in history.
His father, who spent his medical residency in Durham,
served three years in the Army as a surgeon stationed in
northern Africa during World War II.
"I had seen a lot of that type of thing in growing up,"
Baxley added. "Most people don't experience the degree
of commitment on the part of a physician in terms of
devotion to the job."
His mother was a school teacher, while his halfsislei,
who also became a doctor, now practices in
During the filing period for the primary elections last
year, a group of friends whom he admires encouraged
Baxley to run for the board of education.
"That, coupled with having children of my own in
school, led me to make the decision to run," he added. "I
had never run for public office before, so 1 had no experience.
It was a learning process."
Both of his children, Kelly, 12, and Klmberly, 10, attend
Sliallotte Middle School.
Baxley compared his stepping forward as a
Democratic candidate like serving on a Jury. What the
board decides should "reflect community wisdom and
the best interest of the school system," he added.
"1 don't consider my self outstanding in the community
or seeking to be someone that tries to (save a large
following," he said. "I don't view myself in that form of
leadership. When the time arrives and the community
teem UKe you should participate, then you hove n commits
At the age of 38, Baxley more closely resembles a
23-ycur-oiu businessman. Ke says he lias always looked
young for his age, and any comment on his youthful Hppea
re nee is taken "as a compliment," he said, adding,
"I've been able to keep my hair so far."
Hidden behind the youthful comolexion and solemn
voice are the military training as well as the years of
discipline snd hmrd work Rtc build iiiji 1"
firm, which he shares with Hoy D. Trest, a former
uisuici tuuii |Uuxv.
i Tlie political transitions he had experienced during
the 1960s and '70s arc behind him now.
"I think what we have now is more of a traditional
concern among students," Baxley said. "They're starr
( S-S . \ >
tone To Beat BIS Time.
An income earner wrtti o non^yryV ing
spouse can contribute up to $2,250
GTi?cJ O vvOiViitQ CCoflA? CO? i COTiii'iuotd
up to S4.00C
And. wfwte you're so/ing your casn
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I fhatcouta Don't be an April Foof Bean
Apni winner with on IRA from HCN8
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it In Lorts & Uttte Mftr
SHALLOTTK ATTORNEY Doug Baxlcy Is surrounded
with legal matters, either at his ofllcc or In the courtroom.
for usually ten hours a day. The Brunswick
UnO to Iwtliox'rt it) r nnrn fn.wl.mww.f.il '
"O *? >?viv. iiuiuaiuviiMii ouvii aa
becoming educated to perform life's work and to obtain
It takes a degree of self-discipline to attain any daily
task, he said.
"1 don't view myself as a strict disciplinarian, like a
drill instructor in boot camp who Is cracking the whip all
the time," he added. "I don't view myself in that sense.
Positive discipline is largely acquiring useful habits used
to help accomplish one's work."
When it's time to relax, Baxley likes to take his wife,
"a dedicated Carolina basketball fan," to some of the
games. They have traveled as far as Atlanta to see the
Tar Heeis play in the Eastern Rcgionuls of the NCAA
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?L STHEFT, SHALLOTY! 75(ACROSifraOMWVci~?ADIO
SWICK BKACON, Thursday, Januarv 10, 1985?Page 5-A
i^hv j ~
/ ?Wift ?EE3E9Kk9K91
S1AM PMOU H? !? '? FOvt
County Board of Kducatlon member was c'.ected vicechairman
o( the group Inst inunth.
Around Uiclr Tarheeland Acres home, Baxley likes
fishing Hini gardening, since he developed a green thumb
while living on the family farm in Scotland County.
In high school, Baxtey played the guitar for a band,
was on the football team and participated in the student
government organisation while keeping up in his studies.
Although he still keeps a busy schedule, Baxlcy's
concerns have shifted from the tough choices and classes
that once gave him trouble to making decisions concerning
the students. He hopes to add stability to a board of
education that lues experienced many waves in recent
As in life, Baxley said, "You can't sustain too much
change in too short of time Von have to maintain periods
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