By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer
Longtime Middletown Municipal Court Judge Mark W. Wall has died.
“Tonight we lost a friend and mentor for many of us at the Division of Police and to all the City of Middletown in Judge Mark Wall. Our prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest in Peace your honor,” Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said in a Saturday social medial post.
Wall, 70, was appointed to the bench by Gov. George Voinovich to served the balance of Judge James Comb’s term and was elected to his first full six-year term in November 1995.
A lifelong resident of the Middletown area, Wall graduated from Middletown’s Bishop Fenwick High School and from Miami University in 1968. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1973.
During the Vietnam conflict, he served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army. He received several citations and awards, including the Bronze Star Medal.
Wall began his practice in 1973 with the local firm of Wilmer and Wilmer. He was in general trial practice with federal, state and local courts along with probate and real estate law.
Wall was active in community service and youth sports and served two terms as a Lemon Twp. trustee prior to his appointment.
Wall is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children.
Muterpaw said Wall was found at home shortly before 6 p.m. and is believed to have died of natural causes.
“He was a tremendous person in this community and was much bigger than a judge,” Muterspaw said. “He was a mentor to most of us when we were younger policemen first coming on and just a friend to those in need. Very selfless man with an incredibly big heart.”
Attorney Greg Howard — who will take the oath of office as Butler County Common Pleas judge next week following the death of Judge Craig Hedric in November — and his wife, attorney Melynda Cook, who served as visiting judge for wall said, “We are both devastated by this news. Our Middletown community lost a leader, we lost our judge and our friend. He saw good in those who came before him even when they were charged with crimes. He was well respected by attorneys, his staff and city prosecutors and those who appeared in front of him, many of whom called him ‘Judge Walls.’ We have both been privileged to sit in for him as acting judge.”
"Judge Wall was to swear me in on Friday afternoon. It is hard to comprehend he is gone,” Howard said.
Lisa Snead, Wall’s judicial assistant, said her heart splintered into pieces when she got the new of her boss’ death.
“I don’t know how to voice my feelings for this man that I worked closely with day to day for more than 20 years. My heart is shattered,” Snead said.
She added that when Wall left work Friday he promised he would take care of himself and he would see her on Monday. “Now he is gone. A huge part of my life is no longer on this earth,” she said.
Butler County Assistant Prosecutor David Kash, who had known Wall since he began practicing law in 1979, said: “He was an honorable man, brilliant and insightful jurist. He will truly be missed.”
Defense attorney Lawrence Hawkins III remembered Wall as a beloved judge.
“He was a great man and and great judge. He appointed me on my first murder case. That led me to getting certified to do capital cases. He was one of he most respected and beloved judges,” Hawkins said.