IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
In the Matter of the Memorial
Proceedings to the Honorable Charles W. Woodward
October 6, 1969
Hon. Kathryn J. Shook
Hon. James H. Pugh
Hon. Ralph G. Shure
Hon. Walter H. Moorman
Hon. Joseph M. Mathias
Hon. John P. Moore
Hon. Plummer M. Shearin
Hon. Irving A. Levine
Hon. Robert E. Clapp, Jr.
Respectfully submitted by Joseph B. Simpson, Jr., Esquire,
For and On Behalf of the Bar Association of Montgomer County, Maryland,
and responded to by the Honorable Ralph G. Shure and the Honorable Robert E. Clapp, Jr.
P R O C E E D I N G S
JUDGE SHOOK: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County convenes today in memory of a departed member of the bench and departed members of the bar.
The Court recognizes James R. Miller, President of the Bar Association.
MR MILLER: On behalf of the Montgomery County Bar Association we have members of the Association who will speak to the Court and to those present in memoriam of our brothers who have since deceased.
We would move that these proceedings be spread upon the minutes of this Court, Your Honor.
JUDGE SHOOK: The motion will be granted.
MR. MILLER: On Behalf of Judge Charles W. Woodward we ask Mr. Joseph B. Simpson, Jr., to address the Court.
JUDGE SHOOK: Mr. Simpson.
MR. SIMPSON: With the Court’s permission, Your Honors, we are gathered here today for the purpose of paying appropriate tribute to, and including among the permanent records of this Court, pursuant to tradition, a lasting registration of the Memorial proceedings to deceased members of this Bench and of this Bar.
I have the opportunity, obligation and privilege, although the duty is a sad one, to report to the Court the demise of one of our Circuit’s great Judges. A fine gentleman and Georgia’s greatest gift to Maryland, the Honorable Charles W. Woodward departed this life on May 16, 1969.
On February 21, 1895, the late Judge Woodward was born, the son of Mr. W. J. Woodward and Mrs. Stella Woodward, of Butts County, Georgia, and he was known there to his friends in Jackson as “C.W.”. He was referred to here by some, but I am sure never to his face, as “High Pockets”.
Judge Woodward in his native State of Georgia joined the Jackson Rifles at the early age of sixteen, and after teaching briefly in Maryland, he accompanied that Georgia outfit on Mexican border duty during World War I. He attended Officer Candidate School, was commissioned as a Captain, and at the end of World War I, received a Captain’s commission in the United States Regular Army.
He was attracted to the law, resigned his Commission as a military officer, and attended the George Washington University Law School, where he was graduated in 1922.
Judge Woodward had come to Maryland in 1915 to teach mathematics and English at Briarly Hall Military Academy, an institution for the instruction of young students, which no longer exists, near Poolesville.
Before his Commission as a Captain of Infantry, as I have reported, he was a Private in Company A, Second Georgia Infantry from June 26 to July 1, 1916, and a Sergeant until August, 1917. At that time, he received his Commission as Captain and served at that rank until June of 1919.
In 1923, he was admitted to the Bar of Maryland and in 1928 he became a Judge of the Police Court for Montgomery County.
The late Governor, his Excellency, Albert C. Ritchie, appointed Judge Woodward as a Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in October of 1932, and he was elected for fifteen-year terms on this Bench in 1934 and again in recognition of his great service, in 1950.
In January of 1945, he became the Chief Judge of this Circuit.
In April of 1955, much to the regret of the Bar and Bench, he retired from the Bench.
Judge Woodward was a tall, stately and occasionally stern man. He was six feet four inches in height and I believe he may have been dubbed “High Pockets” because of his great height, but everything about him was high: his principles, his requirements of himself and his standards for others, were high.
He believed in the theory of the just, impartial and objective administration of the Court’s business and of the pure justice which it is the obligation and function of the Courts to obtain.
He was a helpful Judge to the Bar because he was always willing to see any lawyer, old or young, in either age or practice, and to give to the members of the Bar such guidance, advice and help as he could.
I well recall an occasion, which I have told to many of my colleagues at the Bar, when I went to see Judge Woodward. I cannot, Your Honors, recall the matter that concerned me, but the occasion I cannot forget and the advice he gave me might well stand as a guideline to all of the members of our profession.
I went to see the Judge at his chambers and, although he was busy, he asked if I wanted to see him, or if he could help and I said that I did and that I wanted to ask him his advice on a problem involving a question of ethics.
He didn’t wait for the question; he said, “I can answer that. If there is any doubt in your mind, the answer is no.” I said, “Thank you, Judge.”, and left.
I have never been able to recall the ethical problem but we should never forget the high ethical standard that Judge Woodward demanded of himself and suggested to all others, and which he there so simply expressed.
When Judge Woodward first came to our Circuit Bench, he was the only resident Judge in Montgomery County, and he devoted his full time, attention and capacity to the accomplishment of the heavy tasks of his office. He was later relieved of a portion of that great work load when the Honorable Stedman Prescott came to the Bench in 1938.
Judge Woodward was active in the Rockville Rotary Club, the National Capital Gun Club; he was a Mason and a member of the Henderson-Smith-Edmonds Post No. 86 of the American Legion.
He was the President of the Board of Trustees of Stronghold, Incorporated, which owns Sugarloaf Mountain, containing more than 3,000 acres of land, which is maintained and operated for the benefit of the public.
He was a true sportsman, in the most appropriate sense of that term. He loved to hunt and to fish. He was a good-humored man he once told me that it was impossible to catch a cold in a duck blind.
He was married on August 25, 1917, to Miss Clairine Fletchall of Poolesville, his widow, and he leaves tow distinguished and able sons: one a practitioner of law, Charles W., Woodward, Jr., Esquire, a member of the Bar of the Court of Appeals of Maryland and of the Bar of this Court; and the other a practitioner of medicine, Dr. Arthur F. Woodward, a capable, dedicated and accomplished physician and surgeon. Dr. Woodward and his wife are unable to be here today because of a long-standing commitment to attend the medical convention in San Francisco.
He also is survived by eight grandchildren. The children of Mr. Charles William Woodward, Jr. and Mrs. Mary Patrick Woodward are: Charles William Woodward, III, a graduate of Centre College who is teaching school at Manassas, Virginia; Patrick Lee Woodward, a senior at Princeton University, an ROTC Cadet who expects to enter law school and follow the profession of his grandfather and father; Paul Johnson Woodward, a student at High Point College, North Carolina, who is interested in history; and Phillip Fletchall Woodward, a pre-medical student at Hampden Sydney College.
The children of Dr. Arthur Fletchall Woodward and Mrs. Elizabeth Harding Woodward are: Nancy Harding Woodward, a senior at William and Mary, interested in medicine; Kathy LeMoine Woodward, a junior at Mary Washington College, interested in nursing; Diane Fletchall Woodward, a student at Madison College, Harrisonburg, Virginia, studying Home Economics; and Arthur Fletchall Woodward, Jr., a pre-medical student at Duke University.
Judge Woodward is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. P. M. Wise and Mrs. Pat Hill, of Winder, Georgia; and two brothers, Mr. Harvey J. Woodward, of Winder, Georgia, and General William R. Woodward, U. S. Army, retired of Atlanta, Georgia.
The most precious and lasting memorial to Judge Woodward is the recollection of his accomplishments and teachings which the members of the Bench and Bar who knew him can pass along to those who will follow us.
There is, however, a great physical monument to Judge Woodward, erected and dedicated in his lifetime, the Charles W. Woodward High School, at 11211 Old Georgetown Road, in Montgomery County. It bears his name and one of his grandsons, Paul, was graduated from there.
If the quality of the students who matriculate there are graduated from that school can halfway meet the ideals of the good man for whom their school is named, I would be assured that he would be most pleased, and they would be among the best of our citizens.
Judge Woodward was a Lay Leader in the Methodist Church and a very devout man. One of the great metropolitan newspapers said of him, “He is what a Judge was intended to be in the development of the law – the superior man in the superior position. His best friend would not ask him for a judicial favor.”
And so now, Your Honors, pursuant to Sixth Circuit Rule 21, Record of Memorial Proceedings, I move the Court that the Clerk of this Court shall keep among the permanent records of this court, appropriately indexed, the name of the Honorable Charles W. Woodward, and that he further keep a full record of this memorial proceedings, and I suggest, with the Court’s permission, that such proper copies of this proceedings be forwarded to the members of the family of the Honorable Charles W. Woodward at their request; and I further move that when this Court stands recessed or adjourned, upon the conclusion of these proceedings, that it stand recessed or adjourned in honor of Judge Woodward and such other members of this Bar as may have departed this life during the last term of this Court, to all of whom Judge Woodward was a faithful, sincere and respected friend.
JUDGE SHOOK: Mr. Simpson, your motions will be granted.
Judge Ralph G. Shure will respond for the Court.
JUDGE SHURE: Members of the Woodward family and his friends, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to respond concerning my wonderful friend, Judge Charles Woodward, affectionately known as “High Pockets”.
Incidentally, I can recall one time I talked to him about his nickname and his response to me was, “Not bad.”
My father was connected with the Methodist Church in the Washington area for 47 years and, as some of you may know and as has just been mentioned, Judge Woodward was for many years a very prominent Methodist, so they became good friends and through that friendship my father talked about Judge Woodward and about the practice of law in Montgomery County before I had gone to law school.
Judge Woodward encouraged me. And from the day I came to the Bar he was my greatly respected friend. I tried my first jury case before Judge Woodward, and I can remember my first equity case which he heard, involving a neighbor of mine under very difficult circumstances, and his understanding and compassion I still remember.
Judge Woodward had that great quality which is difficult for many of us on the Bench to acquire; that is, the ability to listen and study and change your mind, if it is determined that your original thinking was in error.
He also was willing to listen to argument and examine the cases that you had cited, and he was truly a leading jurist in this state; firm, but always fair.
When I came to the Bar he was the only judge in Montgomery County, so my initial practice was, of necessity, before him and Judge Willard in Frederick.
Judge Woodward’s appointment in 1932 by Governor Ritchie was well received and he immediately established himself throughout the State of Maryland as a great asset to the Bench.
He would have made an outstanding member of the Court of Appeals, but that was not to be his life. I am persuaded that he was happier at the trial level than he would have been on the Court of Appeals.
His life, his activities over the years in public service, his moral conduct and the example given by him and Mrs. Woodward to their children through the life of their sons today is living proof of the kind of man that he was. It is all the more remarkable in this day of protest and immorality.
Now, my remarks have been brief since the details of his life have been amply covered by Mr. Simpson.
Some members of this bench have been closely associated with Judge Woodward and others have not; however, all of us in this county and in this Circuit join in saying to the family and friends of Judge Woodward that the Bench and the Bar of this State as well as the citizenry have lost a truly great man.
JUDGE SHOOK: Judge Robert Clapp will present the sentiments of the Frederick County Bar Association.
JUDGE CLAPP: Members of the Bench, Members of the Montgomery County Bar, it is all inclusive to say I have been a friend of Judge Woodward. I have the privilege of advising you as a Judge of this Circuit, resident in Frederick County, that we held at the opening of our September term of Court of this year, also, a memorial service for Judge Woodward, who presided so frequently and well in Frederick County as a part of his duties as a Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
The sentiments that were expressed here today were also expressed by the Bar and those of us on the Bench in Frederick County.
In order not to be repetitious, I should like to present a portion of the resolution offered by the Frederick County Bar Association and received by the Court and recorded in the minutes of the Circuit Court for Frederick County, omitting, however, the biographical references that have already been so well stated here. This is headed:
“Resolution on the Death of Judge Charles W. Woodward.”
“The Bar of Frederick County has learned with great sadness that on Friday, May 16, 1969 Judge Charles W. Woodward died of the illness which had afflicted him for some years.
“Judge Woodward took his seat on the Bench in Frederick upon the resignation of Judge Robert Peter and was first elected by the people of this circuit in 1934. He sat here in many cases, both civil and criminal, until his voluntary retirement in 1955.
“In the earlier years of his service he sat as Associate Judge and on the adoption of the Bond Plan he became the Chief Judge and presided. With dignity and firmness he conducted the proceedings.
“Friendly with all the attorneys and other attendants upon the Court, by his quiet demeanor he dispatched quickly its work. His rulings on evidence brought a wide range of experience and legal learning to his opinions.
“He was a native of Georgia who came to Montgomery County to teach in a preparatory school, since closed.
“He served in the Army on the Mexican Border and in World War I. He married a girl from Montgomery County and stayed to study law at George Washington University Law School, was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1923 and practiced in Montgomery County, serving part of the time as a police magistrate.
“On the retirement of Judge Robert Peter, he was appointed by Governor Ritchie Associate Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and served until he resigned.
“In addition to his judicial duties he found the time to serve his community in various ways. At his death he was president of the Trustees of Stronghold, Inc., the owners of Sugar Loaf Mountain. He was honored by Montgomery County, naming for him a new High School erected between Rockville and Bethesda.
“He was fond of hunting and used to look forward to annual trips to the West camping out on the plains and shooting wildlife during the day.
“He was devoted to his family and his home life was ideal. All his life he was an active and devoted member of the Methodist Church.
“Although thirteen years have passed since he last sat in the Circuit Court for Frederick County, his passing creates a sadness, especially among the older members of the Bar who remember him so well on and off the bench.
“Therefore, be it resolved by the Bar Association of Frederick County that the death of Judge Woodward stirs our memories of a just and fair Judge and an upright and kindly man; and
“Be it further resolved that a copy of these Resolutions be sent by the Clerk to the widow of Judge Woodward.”
If it pleases the Court, I should like to ask the Court that this resolution be recorded as a part of the record of these proceedings.
JUDGE SHOOK: It shall be done.