Morrow recalled as gifted lawyer, great storyteller

August 17, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Services for Henry W. Morrow, well-known local attorney, politician and writer who died Sunday at age 84, "will be unique, mostly silent, sort of Quaker style," his son said Monday.

Henry W. "Bucky" Morrow Jr., said the services, to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, 100 W. Washington St., will be an opportunity for those who knew his father to speak about him.

The Morrows, father and son, shared a law practice that Henry Morrow Sr. started in 1942 in Shepherdstown after earning his law degree from Duke University. Bucky Morrow joined the firm 40 years later. The office today is on Samuel Street in Charles Town, W.Va.


Henry Morrow Sr. enlisted in the Army as a private shortly after opening his law office and served in Europe until 1946. He was discharged as a sergeant and returned to his law practice.

Morrow's oratorical ability in the courtroom defending clients earned him the nickname of "Rumpole," after the British television character. Friends Monday also remembered Morrow for his unyielding devotion to the Democratic Party, his devotion to his dogs, his political career and his writings in local newspapers.

"He will be missed by a lot of people," his son said.

Michael Thompson, Jefferson County prosecutor, began his career as an attorney working in Morrow's office in 1978. "He taught me how to practice law. He showed me the ropes," Thompson said.

"Every young lawyer should have someone like Henry to mentor them," he said. "He was a gifted trial lawyer and a great storyteller."

Morrow served on the Jefferson County Commission from 1987 to 1993 and was the commission's president. His father, R.W. Morrow, served on the commission years before, Thompson said.

Morrow ran for the West Virginia House of Delegates and lost in the primary.

Morrow lost a dog during one of his campaigns and carried along a photograph of the pet on the campaign trail, showing it to prospective voters asking if they had seen it, Thompson said.

Morrow was appointed as a U.S. magistrate by then-U.S. Sen. Jennings Randolph, D-W.Va. He held the job until 1976.

"He knew his mind and he spoke his mind, but he was always respectful with those he disagreed with," said attorney John Skinner of Charles Town.

"He was here when I started practicing law in 1966," said Skinner, 63.

"We differed politically," said Pat Dockeney, publisher of the Spirit of Jefferson-Advocate, a weekly newspaper published in Charles Town. Dockeney, a Republican, is a former mayor of Martinsburg, W.Va. He said he and Morrow shared a lot of information when both held local office.

He always was around on election night and he would always be upset when a Republican won, Dockeney said.

"He was a yellow-dog Democrat and proud of it," Skinner said.

Morrow wrote a popular column called "The View from Here," in The (Martinsburg) Journal. It covered a range of topics from local and national politics to personal stories about pets and family and it always had a liberal bent, said Maria Lorensen, Journal editor.

The column, which Morrow always ended with "Don't forget to feed and care for your pet," ran for 10 years until this year when Morrow's health failed, Lorensen said.

John Schley of Shepherdstown was Morrow's life-long best friend. Schley, Morrow and Henry Shepherd of Shepherdstown were boyhood buddies.

"Henry (Morrow) lived on a farm when we were growing up and he had to work a lot when we were kids," Schley said.

"He was very bright, thought on his feet and was probably the best trial lawyer in the area," Schley said.

He last saw Morrow the day before he died.

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