CHARLESTON — Retired Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib has passed away. He was 86.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit, who took Zakaib's place when he retired in 2014, said Zakaib died Nov. 26.
"He was a consummate jurist and a dedicated public servant who served the people of Kanawha County for thee decades," Tabit said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "It was a privilege to practice in front of him as a lawyer and a great honor to succeed him on the bench."
Zakaib was a circuit judge for Kanawha for more than 27 years and was first appointed in 1986 to replace retired Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Robert K. Smith.
Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker said Zakaib was a devoted judge.
“I have fond memories of appearing before Judge Zakaib, who was a committed jurist and gentleman,” Walker said. “We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family.”
Justice Margaret Workman said Zakaib left behind a legacy.
“Judge Zakaib was a great jurist with a long and honored legacy to the people of Kanawha County. My thoughts are with his family and many friends," Workman said.
Justice Tim Armstead said Zakaib served Kanawha residents fairly.
“Judge Zakaib was an outstanding judge who served the people of Kanawha County and West Virginia with honor, fairness, and integrity,” Armstead said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues.”
Justice Evan Jenkins also called Zakaib fair and equal.
"Judge Zakaib was a champion of fair and equal justice for all,” Jenkins said. "His years of dedicated service leave a legacy of honorable public service."
Justice John Hutchison called Zakaib a mentor
"Judge Paul Zakaib was a friend and a mentor," Hutchison said. "His passing is a great loss to his family and friends and all of those who worked daily in a system dedicated to the preservation of the rule of law."
Zakaib graduated from West Virginia University's law school in 1958. Zakaib also served as a delegate from 1966 until 1974.