Piedmont Elementary School, which is where the Elevators program was started, paid tribute to Tom McJunkin after his death Saturday. (Courtesy photo)
CHARLESTON – A Charleston attorney and active community member lost his four-year battle with cancer Oct. 8.
Thomas N. McJunkin, 62, was an attorney at Jackson Kelly, where he specialized in energy, natural resources and business law. He began working for Jackson Kelly in 1984.
Harry F. Bell, a Charleston attorney from the Bell Law Firm, said McJunkin not only was a fine lawyer who was extraordinarily capable and knowledgeable on energy law, but was even more so a fine gentleman.
"He believed in giving back to the community as a whole, which is so important," Bell said. "In a day and age where out-of-state lawyers and law firms are not truly interested in West Virginia beyond trying to generate fees, Tom was the epitome of a successful West Virginian who cared enough about his community to give back to West Virginia and improve the fabric of life for so many."
Bell said with McJunkin's connections, talent and ability, he could have chosen to live anywhere and enjoyed a successful career, but he chose to return to West Virginia and serve his clients and his community.
"My heartfelt prayers to his wonderful family at this difficult time," Bell said.
Al Emch, an attorney at Jackson Kelly and a friend of McJunkin's for more than 25 years, said McJunkin was a deep and thoughtful person.
"Tom was truly a gentle, thoughtful and inspirational man," Emch said. "He was so thoughtful about anything you talked to him about."
Emch said McJunkin was a wonderful attorney and a wonderful person.
"He was a dear man and a wonderful friend to those who were fortunate enough to know him," Emch said.
McJunkin was a 1974 law school graduate of Washington and Lee University. After graduating, he worked in Washington, D.C., for a short time before returning to Charleston to work.
McJunkin was a member of Washington and Lee University's Board of Trustees and was an active member of the University's Alumni Association, where he served as a class chairman for the Annual Fund and as a member of the Washington Society, the Law School Capital Campaign Committee, the Law Alumni Council and the Alumni Board of Directors.
He was also on the board of the Charleston Chapter of the Washington and Lee Alumni Association.
McJunkin was also a trustee of the National Youth Science Foundation and a board member of the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation, the Daymark Center for youth in crisis, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and a former member of the vestry at St. Matthews Episcopal Church.
During his time at Jackson Kelly, McJunkin founded the Jackson Kelly Education Elevators Program, which is a volunteer mentoring and tutoring program.
The program, nicknamed Elevators, was initiated at Piedmont Elementary School. The program's goal is to share the joy of learning with children.
A public visitation service will be held at the Clay Center in Charleston on Oct. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. and a memorial service will be held on Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Charleston.