Newton native Dr. William C. Self, who died unexpectedly Sept. 15 at his Wilmington home, was hailed as one of North Carolina’s leading educators. Funeral rites and burial for Self, who was 90, will take place in Hickory on Sept. 23.
Self was superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools from 1967 to 1972, as the state’s largest city went through the upheavals of racial integration of its education system. He later became dean of the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill, retiring in 1982.
In 2002, UNC established an endowment fund in Self’s name. He was the recipient of the Doctor of Letters from Chapel Hill, and in 2001, received the Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater.
On Sunday, when news of Self’s death reached his hometown, Newton Mayor Robert A. Mullinax said among his 20th century contemporaries, Self was “one of the outstanding leaders of our state and one of the notable sons of our city, a man who earned prominence by his achievements in public education.”
His death was also remembered at his boyhood church, Grace Reformed United Church of Christ in Newton.
He was born into pioneer Newton families Jan. 6, 1920, the son of the late Riley Lee Self and Macie Grigg Self. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Hickory native Hilda Huggins Self, and sisters Ruby Smith and Mable Finger.
The Newtonian served in the Navy during World War II from 1941 to 1946. Despite his war service interrupting his education, Self earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at UNC. Before taking his post in Charlotte, he was a school administrator in Winston-Salem.
Surviving are his daughter, Leslie Odess, and her husband, Mitch, of Wilmington, and nieces and nephews, including several local residents.
The family received friends in Winston-Salem on Sunday and will have a visitation from 10-11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hickory, followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow in Oakwood Cemetery in Hickory, where he will be buried next to his wife’s grave.
Bass-Smith Funeral Home of Hickory is in charge of local arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bill Self Equity Series
for Teacher Scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill.
See page 2 for Self's full obituary.