Former N.C. Rep. Jim Carson worked across the aisle, fought for tougher penalties for felons

James H. “Jim” Carson Jr.
James H. “Jim” Carson Jr.

James “Jim” Carson Jr. worked on all sides of the law during his career.

As a two-term Republican member of the N.C. House of Representatives, he pushed for and won tougher sentences for habitual felons and for anyone who shoots at a police officer or firefighter, according to his obituary. He also worked as a criminal lawyer for many years.

Carson served as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and served as attorney general in 1974-75.

Carson, a Charlotte native, died Aug. 28 of cancer.

“He was highly respected not only in Charlotte but in the General Assembly and the state party all across North Carolina,” said former Gov. Jim Martin, who credited Carson with a breakthrough race in 1966, when Carson was elected to the state House against a slate of incumbent Democrats.

Carson was a Republican, but he knew how to work with the Democrats, Martin recalled. He said Carson was minority leader during his second term.

“I think it’s certainly a loss for Charlotte’s legal community,” said retired Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Richard Boner.

Boner said Carson was a role model and motivator for other Republicans. “I think he showed those of us who are Republican that it was possible – if we tried – that we could hold elected office,” he said.

Carson’s father, James Carson Sr., was a real estate broker who founded Carson Realty in 1922 and for whom Carson Boulevard is named. The senior Carson was a graduate of Davidson College, but his son earned an undergraduate and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill. He was also a Navy fighter pilot for 15 years.

Carson is survived by his wife of 45 years, Syble Balentine Carson, and three daughters – Page Carson Rogers of Charlotte; Christy Carson Evens of Arlington, Va.; and Read Carson Van de Water of Warrenton, Va. – and eight grandchildren.

A service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at Christ Episcopal Church, 1412 Providence Road. Arrangements are being handled by Robertson Funeral & Cremation Service.

Karen Sullivan: 704-358-5532, @Sullivan_kms