Alumni Remember Federal Judge Willard Broadwater
This year’s Paden City Alumni festivities mark 50 years since Paden City’s Class of 1968 ended their high school careers. Worth noting, the late Willard Craig Broadwater was a member of that class.
Broadwater died of cancer in December 2006 at age 56. He served on the federal bench for 10 years after being appointed a U.S. district judge by then-President Clinton in 1996.
Prior to the federal appointment, Broadwater was a judge in the state’s 1st Circuit, covering Brooke, Hancock and Ohio counties. He also was a brigadier general in the National Guard and was an Army veteran.
The federal building in Martinsburg, W.Va., was named for the late District Court Judge Broadwater. Broadwater had played a large part in renovations made to the federal building in Martinsburg.
Former U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller had once referenced Broadwater’s childhood in Paden City and his service to his country as a judge and as a soldier. “Craig Broadwater was the American Dream. He accomplished more in his 56 years than most people dare to consider.”
According to his brother Kirk, Craig respected others and didn’t put people down. “He was about the team winning and not individual glory. He never made excuses, never complained about injuries.” Kirk said he knew Craig played football with a separated shoulder for several games.”
Persevering despite pain seemed to run in the Broadwater family.
Kirk noted he and his father possessed this same trait as Craig. Kirk recollected how his father died just too months after being diagnosed with lung cancer and brain tumors.
However, just a short time prior to this diagnosis, his father had been outside on a cold November night, working on the family car and not making one complaint about how he had felt.
Kirk recollected his own perseverance despite pain; he had injured himself in a bicycle accident – fracturing several ribs and punching a lung. However, after regaining unconsciousness a few minutes after the accident, Kirk walked a mile back to his vehicle, where his wife was waiting on him.
Kirk noted his brother Craig would have done the same. “You just do what you have to do, because that is what we are taught.”
Kirk also admires the way his brother respected others and withheld judgment. Kirk remembered an experience that seemed to have affected his brother. Craig had once recalled a a situation during his school days, when a teacher unfairly called out a student, claiming “I know who you are, and you are not going to get away with your bad behavior here.” Craig had told his family how the student was sitting up straight at his desk, with a smile on his face, until the teacher spoke. His behavior then changed once he was publicly shamed.
Kirk also reiterated his brother’s humility and how “he was about the team.”
“He would not wear his General Special Forces cap, but “just the one that the enlisted personnel wore.”
“However, some of his Special Forces team put the General’s SF Cap in his hand when they laid him to rest. I got a good laugh, because I know he never wore it, because that wasn’t him.”
Though he departed this life too soon, it is certain the late Craig Broadwater will be remembered by his classmates during their gatherings this coming weekend.
The 2018 Paden City Alumni events start July 5. The St. Marys Community Concert band will play at 6:30 p.m. at the Jess Brown Hall (multi-purpose building), just beside Paden City High School.
The band consists of members throughout the Ohio Valley, including Paden City, Sistersville, St. Marys, Belmont, Parkersburg, Marietta, Belpre, Beallsville, and other communities.
The building is air conditioned and seating will be provided; however, you may bring your own chair.
The memorial will follow with a reading of the deceased’s names. There will then be a gathering at Chen’s Garden Restaurant for refreshments after the memorial service.
Friday marks a day of fun get-togethers and class reunions and parties.
A volleyball game will be played at 5:30 p.m. inside the PCHS gymnasium, followed by a basketball game at approximately 7 p.m.
Saturday will kick-off bright and early with an 8 a.m. golf tournament at Sistersville Country Club, breakfast at Paden City’s Fire Hall, and then a Memorial “Wildcat” Walk at Paden City Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $5 donation with funds going to the Friends of Paden City Pool and ALS awareness and research.
The Distinguished Alumni Award Meet and Greet will be held inside Paden City High School at 4 p.m. with photo-op at approximately 5:15 p.m. The annual alumni banquet will start at 6 p.m. inside Jess Brown Hall (multi-purpose building). $20 tickets for purchase through July 5 at Paden City’s WesBanco, Paden City municipal building, and Paden City Library. It is requested that banquet attendees have tickets prior to the banquet, so catering numbers are accurate.
Banquet speakers are as follows: Levi Goddard, emcee; Jan Huffman, 1958; J. Ford Huffman, 1968; Karen (Koerber) Timmons, 1978; Ronda (Greathouse) Butcher, 1988; Eric Croasmun, 2008.
Mark your calendars for the 2019 alumni festivities, July 4-6!
Remember, Once A Wildcat, Always A Wildcat!
Paden City Alumni officers are as follows: Shauna (Williams) Yoho, President; Keith Van Camp, Vice President; Stephanie (Yoho) Thomas, Secretary; Vicki (Holmes) Cain, Treasurer.
Information on the late Judge Broadwater taken from archives. Interview with Kirk Broadwater by Lauren Matthews.