Court system mourns death of retired Judge Waters

By The West Virginia Record | Nov 1, 2007

CHARLESTON -– The West Virginia court system last week mourned the death of retired Circuit Judge John Lawrence Waters.

Waters died Oct. 24 at Ruby Memorial Hospital after a two-year battle with colon cancer. He was 74.

"Judge John Waters will be missed by everyone who knew him," Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis said. "The entire West Virginia court system mourns his death."

Supreme Court Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard said, "Judge Waters was a really good man and a really great judge."

"I was privileged to work with John Waters when I was a lawyer and he a prosecutor in 1978, then later when we were both jurists," said Supreme Court Justice Larry Starcher. "Judge Waters was always a kind, caring public servant, regardless of his role or with whomever he was working."

Waters was born Jan. 30, 1933, in Grafton, Taylor County, and graduated from St. Augustine High School in Grafton in 1950. He received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University in 1954, served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1957 and graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1960. He served in the Army Reserves for 16 years as company commander.

He opened his first law practice in Grafton. He was elected prosecutor of Taylor County in 1964 and was re-elected to that post until 1984. He was a partner in the law firm Waters and Moats from 1977 to 1984, when he was elected circuit judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, which includes Taylor and Barbour Counties. He was re-elected to the bench in 1992 and 2000. He retired in 1996 and had served as a senior status judge until he became ill.

Waters is survived by his brother, James Kirk Waters, and his wife, June, of Martinsburg; a large extended family and many close friends.

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