The state’s longest serving legislator, Tabor City attorney Robert Charles “R.C.” Soles, died Friday.
Soles did not run for reelection in 2010. At a political event that fall, Soles quoted Gen. George Patton, saying “old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”
Soles spent 42 years – 21 terms – as state Senator and State Representative. His district shifted through the years, covering all of Columbus and at times parts of Pender, Sampson, and Bladen counties.
Funeral services were held Monday at Tabor city Baptist church, where Soles was a longtime member.
Although Soles was a Democrat powerhouse, he was praised by Republicans (some of whom now represent parts of his former constituency) over the weekend.
“R.C. always took care of the folks at home,” said Fair Bluff native Sen. Bill Rabon of Southport, a Republican.
Soles was the driving force behind the county’s new prison at Tabor City, as well as numerous municipal infrastructure projects and improvements to U.S. 74-76.
The former senator was not without controversy – his decision not to seek reelection came after he was charged with shooting a man he said was threatening him. The same year, three men came forward and claimed Soles paid them for sex. One of the alleged victims, Stacy Scott, later recanted his statement to the State Bureau of Investigation and the case was dropped.
Soles was charged with assault after shooting one of those men, Kyle Blackburn, in 2009. Soles pleaded guilty and paid a fine.
Soles was the only defendant found not guilty in the ColCor investigation in 1983.