CHARLESTON — Former Kanawha Circuit Judge James "Jim" Stucky has died, according to the Kanawha County Commission.
"I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my longtime friend Judge Jim Stucky," Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said in a statement. "My wife Debbie and I wish to send our condolences and prayers to his wife Brenda and the rest of his family. Judge Stucky was one of the finest public servants I ever had the privilege to know."
Stucky was a circuit judge for Kanawha for decades until he retired in 2018. Before he was a judge, he worked in the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office beginning in 1979 and served as county prosecutor from 1983 until 1985.
Stucky pursued private practice for several years before returning to the prosecutor's office in 1995 and served as an assistant prosecutor until then-Gov. Cecil Underwood appointed him to the circuit judge position in 1997.
Carper said Stucky dedicated the rest of his career to serving the county.
"I had the privilege of appearing in front of Judge Stucky, working alongside him, and being his friend," Carper said. "I will miss him dearly."
Commissioner Ben Salango said he and his wife were sad to hear of Stucky's death.
"My wife Tera and I are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of our friend and colleague, Judge Stucky," Salango said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Brenda and his family. We honor and remember the years of service given to Kanawha County by Judge Stucky."
Commissioner Hoppy Shores said Stucky will be missed.
"I knew Judge Stucky for many years during his dedicated service to the citizens of Kanawha County," Shores said in a statement. "He will be missed. My wife Bronson and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family."
Supreme Court Chief Justice Beth Walker offered condolences for Stucky’s family.
“On this sad day, we are grateful for Judge Stucky’s many years of admirable public service and express our sincere condolences to Brenda and his entire family,” Walker said in a statement.
Justice Tim Armstead, a former Speaker of the House from Kanawha County, said Stucky will be missed.
“I got to know him well when we were campaigning for offices and he had a good sense of humor,” Armstead said in a statement. “He served Kanawha County and our state with honor and dedicated public service. He was a fair judge, and the court system will miss him.”
Justice John Hutchison, a former longtime Raleigh County Circuit judge, said Stucky was a friend.
“It’s a very, very sad day for the judiciary in the state of West Virginia,” Hutchison said in a statement. “Jim was a friend and an absolutely superb circuit judge, and he will be missed.”
Justice Evan Jenkins said Stucky was well respected.
“Judge Stucky spent his career in public service,” Jenkins said in a statement. “He approached every task and every decision with dedication. His respect for the rule of law was exemplary. His friends in the court system will miss him.”
Justice Margaret Workman, a former Kanawha County Circuit judge, said Stucky was dedicated.
“Jim Stucky dedicated his life to the justice system, serving as the Prosecuting Attorney and a Circuit Court Judge for Kanawha County for many years,” Workman said in a statement. “He faced major health challenges with great courage and dedication to his work. Jim was an excellent judge, a wonderful person, and a good friend. He was hard-working, intelligent, and always exceptionally fair and courteous to everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
The president of the West Virginia Association for Justice praised Stucky for his service.
"On behalf of the West Virginia Association for Justice and our members, we are saddened to hear of the passing of Judge Stucky," Stephen P. New said. "We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, family and friends at this difficult time.
"Judge Stucky spent decades in public service for the people of Kanawha County and all of West Virginia. He dedicated his life to our justice system and, for that, all of us are very thankful."
The Kanawha County Commission announced it would lower all state flags on the commission's grounds as well as declare an official state of mourning when dates are determined for Stucky's services.
Stucky retired from the bench last April, submitting a resignation letter to Gov. Jim Justice after more than 20 years of service. He had said in his letter it was an honor to serve the citizens of Kanawha County.
Stucky was raised in Kanawha County and graduated from George Washington High School. In 1975 he received a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in sociology from West Virginia University and in 1978 received a law degree from West Virginia University College of Law.
He was a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association and a former coach of Kanawha Valley Girls AAU basketball teams. He and his wife had four children.