CHARLESTON - Kanawha County Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr. has announced he is retiring Aug. 31 after nearly 30 years on the bench.

Zakaib, who is 81, said he has been debating on retiring for about a year before he submitted his letter of resignation to the state Supreme Court on Monday. He was first appointed as circuit judge in Kanawha County in 1986 to replace retiring judge Robert K. Smith.

After losing a bid for re-election, he was reappointed when Margaret Workman joined the state Supreme Court in 1988.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will appoint Zakaib's replacement after the state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission interviews applicants and makes recommendations.

Melody Shannon, Zakaib's secretary for the last 28 years, said Zakaib had been debating on retiring before finally deciding to do so.

"Zakaib is one of the finest judges Kanawha County has seen and may ever see," Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said. "He is retiring after considerable, honorable service."

Carper is also a member of the Judicial Advisory Commission.

Zakaib graduated from Morris Harvey College and then the West Virginia University College of Law in 1958. He left college for two years when he served in the Army before returning to finish school.

Zakaib served four terms in the House of Delegates. He was an attorney at the Tax Commission, the Department of Employment Security, the Economic Development Agency and the Department of Commerce after graduating from law school. He also worked in private practice.

Zakaib said he is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren, Shannon said.

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