Kanawha opens September court term, has memorial ceremony

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 14, 2010

CHARLESTON -- The Kanawha Circuit Court held its opening of September term and memorial ceremony Sept. 13.

Chief Judge Tod J. Kaufman said the opening of the September term signifies the opening of the busiest court term of the year.

Gov. Joe Manchin said the ceremony is a time for honoring members of the court who recently passed away.

"I express condolences to the families of those who have passed," Manchin. "I offer my gratitude for all of the work they had done for this state."

Nick Mooney, the president of the Kanawha County Bar Association, introduced the speakers for the four people who were being honored at the ceremony; John N. Charnock Jr., Stephen P. Goodwin, Julia K. Shreve and Robert W. Kiefer Jr.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Brent D. Benjamin said the ceremony was a wonderful opportunity to say goodbye to friends and colleagues.

"Charnock was a fixture in this community for 57 years," Benjamin said. "He was a wonderful man and public servant and displayed compassion in all things he did."

Charnock died April 19 after battling a long illness.

Benjamin said in his practice, Charnock always put his clients first.

"We'll keep him in our memories forever," Benjamin said.

Carte P. Goodwin, Stephen P. Goodwin's son, said it was a privilege to learn from his father by just watching him.

Stephen P. Goodwin died April 21 at the age of 62 after a case of shingles led to serious complications, including liver, kidney and brain ailments.

"He was always courteous and respectful," Carte P. Goodwin said. "Dad, I miss you and I love you."

Richard L. Gottlieb, Shreve's husband, said Shreve loved being a lawyer.

Shreve, 60, died on May 21 from metastasized breast cancer disease.

"Julia loved every minute of working as a lawyer," Gottlieb said. "She appreciated it and was always anxious to get back to work when she was fighting her battle against cancer."

Gottlieb said Shreve missed her clients and co-workers when she was away from work.

A. Andrew MacQueen Jr., a retired Kanawha Circuit Court judge, said Kiefer had a multitude of interests, but his biggest interest was baseball.

"He knew a lot of baseball stats," MacQueen said. "More than anyone else I knew. But, his interests didn't stop there. He was also knowledgeable on a vast array of subjects."

MacQueen said Kiefer never approached any interest in a half-hearted manner and that he was the same way with his legal cases.

"He was totally unselfish, kind and giving," MacQueen said. "He was completely comfortable with himself."

Kiefer died suddenly on July 8 at the age of 53.

Kaufman said he was thankful for the families of those being honored for coming and showing their support.

"This is a wonderful way to open the court term," Kaufman said.

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