CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Former Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw died Wednesday, June 14. He was 84.
A public servant for more than 50 years, Justice McGraw most recently was a circuit judge in the Twenty-Seventh Judicial Circuit (Wyoming County). He retired on June 21, 2021–the West Virginia Day holiday–and died on Flag Day.
Also a former president of the West Virginia Senate, he was one of only a handful of people who served at the top of two separate branches of government.
At the time of his retirement, he indicated physical impairments due to Parkinson’s Disease led him to make the decision.
Judge McGraw was born on May 10, 1939, in Wyoming County. He attended Wyoming County public schools and graduated from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) with a bachelor's degree in political science, history, and economics in 1960. He attended graduate school at West Virginia University and earned his law degree in 1963 from Wake Forest University.
He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1968 and 1970 and the West Virginia Senate in 1972, 1976, and 1980. He was President of the state Senate from 1980 to 1985. He was honored by Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics as a National Outstanding Legislator in 1971.
In 1986, he was elected to the Wyoming County Board of Education; in 1996, he was elected Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney; in 1998, he was elected to the Supreme Court and was selected as Chief Justice in 2001; and, in 2008, he was elected circuit judge in Wyoming County and re-elected in 2016. In addition to being an attorney in private practice, he was also a steel and chemical worker, a U.S. Department of Justice trial lawyer, a legal services attorney, and an instructor at the West Virginia University Extension Agency. He was a member of the Wyoming and Raleigh County Bar Associations and Rotary International.
He was a Paul Harris Fellow and a recipient of the Friend of Education Margaret Baldwin Award from the West Virginia Education Association. He received the 2022 Fred H. Caplan award from the West Virginia Association of Justice in recognition of his lifetime of service to West Virginia. Judge McGraw was married to Peggy Shufflebarger, and they have three children.