Friday, October 04, 2013

On Martha Weisfeld

Here is an obituary in today's Bristol paper for Ms. Weisfeld, who was the publisher of the Abingdon Virginian. When I moved back to Abingdon after law school in 1989, I was walking around town with my future first wife and looked in the big glass window at her office on Courthouse Hill and she looked back and beckoned us in. She cross-examined us at some length as to who we were and what we were doing there, and I told her I was going to start working for Judge Glen Williams. She said, "oh, I love Judge Williams. He always hugs me and kisses me whenever we meet. None of the other judges do that." When I recalled this story not too long ago at the judge's memorial service, I pointed out that I could not imagine a more courageous act. Ms. Weisfeld was not shy about voicing her disapproval in her newspaper about whatever or whoever was bothering her. Judge Williams back in the day thought it was funny that she was such a big fan of his, and confessed that he had read some of what she wrote, or at least the headlines. He told me that once when he had ruled against Washington County on some issue or another, the resulting headline in Ms. Weisfeld's paper was "County Attorney Screws Up Again." She was very nice to us, the one time we spoke at length, and no one who knew her at all will ever forget her.