Daphene Ledford Cantrell Obituary
Honorable Judge Daphene Cantrell (Retired)
Daphene, of Charlotte, went to be with her savior on Sunday, October 16, 2011 after a brief illness. She was surrounded by her family at Presbyterian Hospital. She is preceded in death by her parents Lester and Louise Ledford and her 4 sisters and 5 brothers.
She was born February 15, 1930 to her parents in the small town of Cliffside, NC. She attended Cliffside School for her early education and enrolled in the Gardner-Webb Junior College immediately after completing High School as Salutatorian. After Gardner-Webb she was accepted into UNC Chapel Hill where she completed her undergraduate and law degrees, being on the front line in advancing women in the legal profession.
After receiving her law degree, Daphene served her Country as a Civil Servant with the United States Air Force in the capacity of Assistant Director of Petroleum Oil and Lubrication Division. During her time in this position she assisted the Director in developing a technique to assure petroleum did not overfill tanks, thus averting fires and explosions that would have injured many soldiers.
In April 1955 Daphene met the love of her life, Kenneth and they married January 21, 1956. Kenneth and Daphene lived for a short time in Greenville, SC, Albany, GA, and Raleigh, NC before settling in Charlotte. During the years 1956 – 1964, their daughters, Deana, Susan, and Allison were born.
After moving to Charlotte, she entered private law practice with her brothers Jim and Glen Ledford until the early 1970’s when her beloved brother Glen died unexpectedly. Upon leaving the practice, Daphene joined the Clerk of Superior Court Office as an Administrative Officer of the Court where she served until 1978. On 13 January 1978, she was appointed as a District Court Judge in Mecklenburg County where she served until retirement in 1996. During her entire tenure, she was always re-elected with no political opposition due to her unwavering personal and professional values and ethics. Through this position she professed and used her faith and wisdom to assure justice was administered to all who stood before her. Although her demeanor was quiet and modest, all listened when she spoke. She touched thousands of lives, while never flaunting her accomplishments or position. Her elegance showed in all aspects of her life.
While her career as a public servant meant much to her, she always stated her greatest accomplishment was her 3 daughters. She adored her family, especially her grandchildren. Up to the very end, her mantra was ‘family is everything’.
Daphene is survived by her husband of 55 years, Kenneth D. Cantrell and their 3 daughters, Deana and her husband Paul Bridges, Susan Kinzler, Allison and her husband Johnny Allen. In addition she leaves behind her grandchildren Lauren, Catherine, and Melissa Bridges; Zachary and Jacob Allen; and Stephen and Suzanne Kinzler. She is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and cousins.
Her greatest gifts to us were love, unwavering faith, Christian values and ethics, and dedication to family and friends. She will be surely missed.
Friends will be received on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 from 2:00-4:00 and 5:00-9:00 p.m. at Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd., Huntersville, NC. Services will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Huntersville United Methodist Church, 14005 Stumptown Rd., Huntersville, NC with Rev. Mike Goode and Rev. Monica Humpal officiating. Interment will be at Northlake Memorial Gardens. Memorial contributions may be made to the Huntersville United Methodist Church, 14005 Stumptown Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078.
Published in the Charlotte Observer on October 18, 2011