PRINCETON — Family, friends and colleagues gathered Friday in a Mercer County courtroom and honored the memory of a local attorney known for his professionalism, love of family and love of life.
Harold B. Wolfe III of Princeton passed away Jan. 26, 2022 after a brief illness. A graduate of Princeton Senior High School, Concord College and the West Virginia University College of Law, Wolfe practiced law in Mercer County for more than 30 years.
A plaque honoring Wolfe was unveiled Friday in the courtroom of Circuit Court Judge William Sadler, joining the other plaques honoring attorneys and judges in the county’s legal community. During the unveiling ceremony, Magistrate Judge Omar J. Aboulhosn said it was hard to believe that a year and a day had gone by since Wolfe passed away. Placing the memorial plaque in the courtroom “respectfully honors his service and his life and his dedication to his community,” he said.
Local judges and Wolfe’s other colleagues in the legal profession spoke about his skill and dedication. Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope said Wolfe was be sorely missed. Wolfe’s plaque is now next to the courtroom’s jury box.
“This is really a wonderful location to remember members of the Mercer County bar and the judiciary,” Swope said of the courtroom, adding that Wolfe’s plaque was now close to where he often stood to address a jury.
Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills and his fellow judges also spoke of Wolfe’s professionalism.
“He took care of everyone to a T,” Wills said. “The main thing I want to say is when he was in my courtroom, he looked like a lawyer, he acted like a lawyer and he was always prepared.”
“Harold was a gentleman and I don’t think there is anything better you can say about a person,” Wills stated.
Another member of local judiciary, Circuit Court Judge William Sadler, also spoke of Wolfe’s dedication to the legal profession.
“I know Harold’s death was a loss to his family and will continue to be a loss for a long time,” Sadler said. “His death was also a loss to the legal profession in Mercer County. Harold was always prepared. He always did a good job representing his clients whoever his clients may be.”
Attorneys Derrick Lefler and Jay Williams told the audience about working with Wolfe for years. Lefler said that he knew Wolfe when they were both in the ninth grade, and even then Wolfe wanted to be an attorney.
“Being a lawyer meant a great deal to Harold,” Lefler recalled, adding that Wolfe always represented his clients well.
“He was going to represent his client vigorously, efficiently and competently,” Lefler said.
Williams said that Wolfe loved hunting and fishing as well as the law, and loved to discuss those topics with him. Wolfe, who always drove a Ford, also loved cars and would even drag race with his Ford Mustang.
“Harold was a cut-up sometimes,” Williams said. “He wasn’t this boring guy.”
Wolfe’s wife, Kathy, spoke of her family’s loss and about how memories of her husband would endure.
“On year ago today, I started my new life as Harold’s widow and the solo parent of our 13-year-old son,” Shannon Wolfe told friends and family filling the courtroom. “If I had known all those years ago when we met that he would die at 55 years old and our lives would be torn apart and I would live forever feeling this horrible pain, I would have done it all over again. I wouldn’t have missed a second of our life together. It was my honor and privilege to be his wife. Harold was my husband, the father of our son, my love and my best friend.”
“He was an extremely brilliant life force. He blazed a path in everything he did,” she said. “A path that still glows after a year of his passing. He was my diamond. He could win a hard case in court, come home and change a tire, cut down a tree, race his drag car down the track, reload bullets, kill a deer and turn it into jerky, answer the hardest math problem our son could come up with along with so many other things that I don’t have enough time to talk about it. Most of all, he could melt my heart with a smile, an ‘I love you’ and a kiss.”
She said her son, Ethan, and her stepson, Harold “Bo” Wolfe IV, were among the “precious gifts” her husband had given her.
“Thank you for all the love you have shown us over the past year and for coming today,” she told her audience. “Harold would be honored to see all of you here today.”
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com