BG WC Broadwater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cancer Claims Judge (Green Beret General)
The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register ^ | 21 Dec 06 | Compiled by staff writers 

WHEELING — W. Craig Broadwater was a hero and a patriot whose life was dedicated to doing justice and good for his fellow man, friends said Tuesday upon learning of his death.

Broadwater, 56, married and a father of three, was a highly respected U.S. District Court judge and a brigadier general in the West Virginia National Guard. He died Monday night at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after a short battle with cancer.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. called Broadwater’s death a “personal tragedy” for all who knew him.

“If there was any person who deserved to be called a hero and patriot, it was Craig Broadwater because of his service to his country,” Stamp said, pointing to Broadwater’s many years in both the judicial system and in the military.

Broadwater, a former resident of Wheeling, lived and worked in the city when he was nominated by President Clinton on Jan. 29, 1996, for the district court position. Broadwater grew up in Paden City and graduated from Paden City High School.

Paden City High School Principal Warren Lee Grace Jr. on Tuesday called Broadwater’s death a terrible loss for the state.

“There have been multiple calls here from classmates expressing their sadness over his passing,” Grace said. “We have always been proud of Judge Broadwater, and we will miss him greatly.

“He’s a credit to Paden City High School. We have always held him up as an example of the kind of person our students can become.”

While a young lawyer himself, Wheeling attorney Jim Bordas, of the Bordas & Bordas law firm, hired the newly graduated Broadwater in 1977. At the time Bordas was with the Riley & Yahn law firm.

“He was a smart guy, hard-working and an incredible citizen. He had a heart as big as the courtroom,” Bordas said. “He is going to be really missed. It’s a sad day today.”

Bordas described Broadwater as a devout Christian.

“He really meant the world to all of us,” Bordas said. “We are happy Craig’s in Heaven, but we’ll still miss him here. It’s a big loss.”

Broadwater would later form a partnership with Riley & Yahn attorney Arch Riley Sr., forming the Riley and Broadwater law firm.

“I felt like I was kicked in the stomach when I found out he had cancer and when I found out that he died this morning,” Riley said Tuesday. “He was very dedicated to the military, a very loving guy, a very compassionate guy. ... Really, as a person I can’t say enough about him.”

Broadwater also served as a special prosecutor in Ohio County from 1978-1979 and from 1982-1983. Wheeling attorney Robert Fitzsimmons practiced law during Broadwater’s second term as special prosecutor, both with him and against him on certain cases.

“It’s a great loss to our judiciary, a great loss to our legal community and a great loss for the people of West Virginia and the United States,” Fitzsimmons said of Broadwater’s death. “He was a great man.”

Broadwater was appointed in 1983 by then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller as a circuit judge in the state’s First Judicial Circuit, encompassing Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties. At that time, he was the youngest circuit judge in the state.

“West Virginia has lost a great judge, a true patriot, and a remarkable man. As governor, I appointed Craig to the (circuit court), where he became a true champion for children,” Rockefeller said. “As a federal judge, Craig continued to serve with both compassion and justice. He was someone who truly understood the unique role that courts play in the daily lives of West Virginians, particularly children and families. Throughout his highly decorated military career, he served our nation and our state selflessly.”

First Judicial Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson served with Broadwater until Broadwater’s appointment to the federal bench in 1996.

“I think the real tragedy of it is that this is an unfinished life. He had so many roads left to travel in his life,” Wilson said.

Wilson said Broadwater was a man who was 100-percent pure.

“He wore his love of God, his family and his country where all could see,” Wilson said. “He had the courage and the instinct to do the right thing.”

Broadwater also served his country with honor, Wilson said.

“In my judgment, he was a true patriot,” Wilson said.

Broadwater earned his law degree from West Virginia University, and he served from 1972-1982 as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Stamp said Broadwater had a “marvelous record in the military,” noting as a brigadier general in the National Guard, he served overseas several times, most recently in Iraq.

John Looney, team leader at the Veterans Center in Ohio County, termed Broadwater “a dear friend.”

“He went through Green Beret training, and his Green Beret certification was awarded to him at the time they began pulling the Green Berets out of Vietnam. He didn’t get to go, and that was a regret of his,” Looney said.

“He was the commander of the Green Beret company in West Virginia and the commander of the battalion, including companies from other states,” he said.

After his promotion to brigadier general, Broadwater was sent to the Horn of Africa, charged with duties pertaining to the war against terror.

He returned home to West Virginia two years ago following a stint in Iraq, according to Looney.

“This is a loss not only to the community, but to the nation,” Looney said. “He served very well at every position he held. He brought a fresh perspective — a well-thought-out perspective —to each position. He was a great intellect to talk with.”

Broadwater also was instrumental in getting the Veterans Center in Ohio County established in 1989, and he served on the facility’s advisory board.

U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said Broadwater “epitomized public service.”

“A soldier in the U.S. Army ... a long-standing member — and brigadier general — in the West Virginia National Guard ... a federal judge ... a leader in community organizations. Craig Broadwater was always ready to work to make our state and our country a better place for the generations to come,” Byrd said. “I hope that more West Virginians will follow the model set by Judge Broadwater and continue to give of their talents and their skills to build a brighter tomorrow.”

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Broadwater “exemplified what it means to be a public servant and patriot.”

“He was well-respected not only by those who entered his courtroom but also by those who served with him in the West Virginia National Guard. I join the many admirers in West Virginia who are grateful for his contributions to our state and country in offering my prayers and best wishes to his family during this difficult time.”

Many local attorneys, both past and present, who practiced law while Broadwater was an attorney and later a judge in Wheeling and in Martinsburg had fond memories of their experiences with the man.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely had known Broadwater since 1982 when she was practicing law in Wheeling.

“It’s a true loss to the judiciary. My condolences go out to the family,” she said.

Broadwater is survived by his wife, Chong, daughters Taeja and Chandra, and son Shane. Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Brown Funeral Homes’ South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood, W.Va. A military graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Oxford Cemetery in West Union.