11/07/05 — They left their mark on county's history

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They left their mark on county's history

By Gene Price
Published in News on November 7, 2005 1:49 PM

Citizens from Wayne County -- and beyond -- paused Sunday to pay tribute to two individuals who had made significant contributions to their community and their country.

Honored as inductees in the Wayne County Museum's "Wall of Fame" were the late Oland Peele and Rear Admiral Edward Outlaw.

Peele was recognized as a visionary whose influence lifted the area's agricultural economy above dependence on tobacco and other row crops to the prosperity it enjoys today in the area of quality livestock production.

Admiral Outlaw was one of the great Navy heroes of World War II. He earned the Navy Cross -- second only to the Medal of Honor -- when he shot down five Japanese Zeroes in a single encounter. He subsequently was to earn three Distinguished Flying Crosses and numerous other medals to make him one of the most decorated naval officers of the war.

His father, Needham Outlaw, was one of Goldsboro's highly respected defense attorneys.

Peele was one of the founders of the Wayne County Livestock Development Association and was credited with elevating the county's "fair" from a carnival to one repeatedly recognized as among the best agricultural fairs in the nation.

At the Sunday function, he was hailed by family and friends as one who excelled in every endeavor -- from raising and showing grand champion livestock to promoting better understanding and relations between rural and urban citizens.

A number of long-time friends spoke of his contributions to community, agriculture, church -- and especially the high priority he placed on his family.

Peele's son, Gregory, sometimes in a choked voice, said, "He surrounded himself with people who wanted to improve the standards of all our people. He was a man of vision. His goal was diversification of farming in Wayne County."

Peele earlier had been named to the Wayne County Agricultural Hall of Fame and was recognized nationally for his accomplishments in improving livestock quality.