|From||United States of America|
|Birth||15 November 1899, Gates County, USA|
|Death||21 July 1993, Raleigh, USA (aged 93 years)|
Thaddeus Armie "Thad" Eure (November 15, 1899 – July 21, 1993) was a North Carolina political figure who holds the record for longest tenure as an elected official in the United States, serving as North Carolina Secretary of State from 1936 to 1989.
Born in Gates County, North Carolina, Eure was the son of the Tazewell Augustus Eure and Armecia Langston Eure. A farmer, Tazewell Eure, was in the first graduating class at North Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College (now North Carolina State University) and served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1925–1927.
He was the oldest of five Eure children. He grew up on an 80-acre farm that grew cotton, corn, and peanuts. He graduated valedictorian from the now-closed Gatesville High School in 1917.
He attended the University of North Carolina where he was a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity. He left UNC to serve in the Army during World War I, returning to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to attend the University of North Carolina Law School, graduating in 1922.
Prior to his service as secretary of state, Eure served as mayor of Winton, North Carolina at age 27, and as a state legislator. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan recognized Eure as having held public office longer than any official in the nation at that time, with more than 64 years of continuous service. In his later years, he was known as the "oldest rat in the Democratic barn." Ironically, in his first run for the office of Secretary of State, he asked voters to "give a young man a chance."
Eure was the last living member of the North Carolina legislature to have voted to approve the establishment of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in 1929. During his tenure as Secretary of State, Eure was asked by Highway Patrol leadership to give the swearing-in oath of office to graduating troopers in each basic school class at the North Carolina Highway Patrol School, which was first conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill and later in Raleigh at the present campus on Garner Road. Eure would proudly address each class and he signed each individual trooper's oath certificate in his trademark green ink. When his physical condition weakened in 1985, then-North Carolina Governor James G. Martin assigned a trooper to drive Eure to and from work each day and troopers joked that they would stab each other in the back to have a chance to drive Mr. Eure around.
Eure also served on the board of trustees of Elon University from 1942 to 1989 (chairman, 1955–1989). He was not a graduate of that institution, instead attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because he wanted to earn a law degree. Elon did not have a law school until the 21st century. Eure also was credited for the creating the "Long Live Elon" end to each speech and address.
He died of complications of gallbladder surgery in 1993. His body lay in state at the North Carolina State Capitol.
Eure married Minta Banks on November 15, 1924. Banks was also from Winton, North Carolina and had been educated at Saint Mary's School. They had two children, Thad Eure, Jr. and Armecia Eure Black.
Eure was an early investor in his son Thad Eure, Jr.'s restaurant empire. Eure Jr was a famous restaurateur in Raleigh, North Carolina, founding the legendary steakhouse The Angus Barn, reviving the 42nd Street Oyster Bar and being responsible for the Darryl's and Fat Daddy's chains.
Eure was buried in Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Known for wearing bow ties January 6, 1989 was declared "Red Bow Tie Day" in North Carolina to honor Eure and his service.
Eure's trademarks were his bow ties and always signing in green ink.