One of Guilford County’s most beloved former leaders has died at the age of 72.

John Shore, former deputy county manager and the man chosen to run the Guilford County Department of Social Services when that department was in a time of crisis, made a great many contributions to the county and the community.

Shore began his career in government as a land-use planner for the State of North Carolina and later became the manager of Pasquotank County. In the late ‘70s, Shore was hired as the deputy manager of Guilford County – a position he held for about two decades.

Shore also, at various times, served as interim county manager and was offered the job of county manager several times but declined.

He also served as interim mental health director for Guilford County.

In 1998, when the county’s social services department was experiencing problems so profound that many people thought the state would take over the department, Shore was asked to become the director of the department. Shore took on the challenge and proceeded to turn social services around completely, and, in 2003, he received the “Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect” from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Shore also volunteered his time for years with area non-profits and served on the boards of some.

Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen, who was elected Guilford County commissioner in 1998 before being elected the register of deeds in 2004, said Shore was remarkably well-suited for managing in an environment that could be highly political at times.

Thigpen said, “He was very even keeled and thoughtful and he exhibited a kind of quiet authority. John was a really good department director and was well respected. When I was elected commissioner, people said ‘Here’s a list of people you really need to talk to – and he was always on the top of the list.”

Thigpen said he kept in touch with Shore after he retired from county government.   He said Shore had told him that, when he, Shore, retired, he planned to hike the Appalachian Trail.

“When I saw him later, I asked him how that was going,” Thigpen said chuckling, “and he said, ‘It’s a long trail.’”