Kanawha Court remembers attorneys, judges in May opening ceremony

By Kyla Asbury | May 15, 2012

Jaclyn Maynard spoke about her late husband Adam Maynard during a ceremony May 14 at the Kanawha County Courthouse. (Photos by Kyla Asbury)

Charles Vickers spoke about his late uncle George Vickers.

Gretchen M. Callas, an attorney at Jackson Kelly, spoke about Dennis Sauter.

CHARLESTON -- Twelve attorneys and judges who have passed away during the last year were memorialized at the opening day of the May term of court in Kanawha County on May 14.

The Kanawha Circuit Court judges presided over the ceremony.

The 12 judges and attorneys remembered were Kanawha Circuit Judge Robert K. Smith, U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge M. Blaine Michael, James Knight Brown, William F. Foster, Adam L. Maynard, George William Singleton, Cletus B. Hanley, Thomas Randolph Cox Jr., George Vickers, Dennis Sauter and Charles Barnett.

Co-workers, friends and family members of the judges and attorneys were present during the opening ceremony. A friend, co-worker or family member also spoke about each of the 12 judges and attorneys in honor of their lives.

Smith died on Feb. 16 at the age of 88. He was a domestic relations judge and then a Kanawha circuit judge for 24 years until he retired in 1986. After he retired, he continued to work as a judge mediator and special judge in senior status.

Brown died on Feb. 23 at the age of 82. He was a retired partner at Jackson Kelly and was a former president of the West Virginia State Bar Association.

Foster, who died on Feb. 16 at the age of 41, was an attorney at his own law firm, the Foster Law Firm, in Charleston.

Brian Prim, an attorney at the Prim Law Firm, said Foster's lasting quality was his compassion.

"Bill cared tremendously about his clients," Prim said. "His devotion went far beyond legal representation. He was compassionate and focused."

Maynard died on Feb. 10 at the age of 35. He was an attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl in Charleston and was a dedicated youth sports coach.

Maynard's wife, Jaclyn Maynard, said Adam Maynard had always wanted to be an attorney and cared deeply about his profession.

"He was a friend to everyone he met, and he was passionate about labor and employment law," Jaclyn Maynard said. "He also made a genuine connection with the children he coached on youth basketball teams and was never too busy to help them when they needed him."

Singleton, who died on Jan. 6 at the age of 89, was Clerk of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from 1969 until his retirement in 1986.

Helen Bragg Singleton, who was George Singleton's wife of more than 50 years, said her husband was always a gentleman and was a hard working man.

"He served with integrity and passion and he loved the law," Helen Singleton said. "He was a wonderful and honest lawyer and a wonderful and honest man."

Hanley was 88 at the time of his death on Dec. 13, 2011. Hanley was known for his involvement in the 1979 case of Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co. in which the newspaper violated state law by publishing the name of a juvenile charged with a crime without prior approval.

Steven Hanley said he was a very hardworking attorney throughout his career.

"He was always hard working and his clients were so lucky to have him because he cared about his work," Steve Hanley said. "He will be missed by everyone."

Cox died on Oct. 19, 2011, at the age of 62. He was an attorney at Spilman, Thomas & Battle from 1983 until his death and was listed in "Best Lawyers in America" for more than a decade.

McJunkin died on Oct. 8, 2011, at the age of 62 after a four-year battle with cancer. McJunkin, who was an attorney at Jackson Kelly, was also the founder of the Jackson Kelly Education Elevators Program at Piedmont Elementary School in Charleston.

Charles Loeb, an attorney at Jackson Kelly, said McJunkin always stood out and was always a gentleman and a great listener.

"People were drawn to him," Loeb said. "He had the highest degree of skill and professionalism and a strong commitment to his career and his community."

Loeb said McJunkin always gave back to his community and was an inspiration to all.

Vickers died on April 5, 2011, at the age of 85. Charles Vickers, George Vickers' nephew, said his uncle was a member of the state bar and the City Attorney for Montgomery for many years.

Michael, who died at the age of 68 on March 25, 2011, was a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1993 until his death.

Mary Anne Michael, M. Blaine Michael's wife, was unable to attend the ceremony, but sent a letter to be read at the ceremony.

Barnett died on April 13 at the age of 82 due to complications from pneumonia. Barnett was an attorney at Kay Casto & Chaney until he retired in 2007.

William Booker, an attorney at Kay Casto & Chaney, said Barnett was known for always getting the job done, no matter how tough the job was.

"He continues to be admired by many lawyers," Booker said. "He will be deeply missed."

Sauter died on March 20 at the age of 67. He had practiced law for 38 years—26 of those were with Jackson Kelly in Charleston.

Gretchen M. Callas, an attorney at Jackson Kelly, said Sauter was a believer in hard work.

"He always got to the truth no matter what," Callas said. "He was a fine lawyer and was always the best to handle a tough case."

After each of the twelve judges and attorneys were honored at the ceremony, Chief Judge Louis H. Bloom announced the circuit judges would adjourn from the courtroom and return to their respective courtrooms in the Kanawha County Judicial Building.

More News

The Record Network