PRINCETON — Fond memories were shared this week about a leading Mercer County attorney known throughout the community for his legal knowledge, political skill and his dedication to the improving the public’s well being.
Robert E. “Bob” Holroyd of Princeton passed away Sunday in Charleston at the age of 88. Holroyd started practicing law in June 1958 after graduating from West Virginia University with a bachelor of law degree. He later served in the West Virginia House of Delegates and in numerous capacities across Mercer County. Many members of the county’s legal community have worked with Holroyd.
“Well, when I graduated from law school in 1981, I went to work with Mr. Holroyd,” Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills recalled. “I was with him and Mike Gibson and Randy Roahrig for four years, and I tried several cases with Mr. Holroyd and learned a great deal. He was quite impressive at the time. He was a Marine before he became a lawyer, and an assistant prosecuting attorney and in the House of Delegates, so he had a pretty well-rounded life. And, of course, he and his wife Emilie, I have to say, were very influential in my life in regards to politics.”
“The most important thing I’ll say is that he was a gentleman and a good man,” Wills said.
Holroyd was frequently at the Mercer County Courthouse and the neighboring courthouse annex where he would share his memories and insights.
“Bob was a true gentleman, a giant in the legal community here in Mercer County and he’s going to be sorely missed,” Circuit Court Judge William Sadler stated. “He was just an all around great guy.”
Sadler’s judicial assistant, Melissa Pentasuglia, remembered how Holroyd would often visit her and other people in the courthouse.
“When he was in the hallway, he would come in and sit down in front of my desk,” she said. “I’d always enjoy listening to him and to his stories about over the years at the courthouse and the community. He will certainly be missed by many.”
County officials often consulted Holroyd about a variety of topics.
“He was just so helpful to the county. We were always consulting him on different matters,” County Clerk Verlin Moye said. “He has assisted us on a lot of the state matters. He helped us resolve some estate issues in the probate department. We truly lost a hero in my opinion. Everybody consulted Bob on the issues that they had. Everybody in the community: lawyers, professionals, officials. He was a pillar of the community.”
Magistrate Susan Honaker said working with Holroyd was always a pleasure.
“He was always professional and so courteous and just a pleasant, pleasant man,” she recalled. “Always had a smile on his face, always had a joke to tell and I’ll miss him greatly. He was one of a kind. He’ll be a great loss to the community, that’s for sure. He was one of the most knowledgeable men, and he was so into politics.”
Beside politics, Holroyd also knew a lot about history.
“He could remember dates and everything,” Honaker said. “He didn’t forget anything.”
Former Mercer County Sheriff Don Meadows said Holroyd was a friend of the law enforcement community.
“I met him in ‘72 when I came to Princeton,” Meadows said. “I was with the State Police, and I got transferred from Lewisburg to Princeton. He was always willing to help if I had a question about something and always willing to help me. Over the years we built up a good friendship and I was friends with his wife. He was a defense lawyer, but as far as I was concerned, he was a policeman’s friend. He never asked for anything in return.”
“On a weekly basis, he came over to talk to me and he was always willing to help,” Meadows said. “They always helped me with stuff. If I was running for office, he was willing to help and he was always supportive of me. And Bob taught at the (West Virginia State Police) Academy. He taught there a long time. I never had a class with him, but he was good friends with the department. He was good friends with the State Police. He was considered a good supporter of the State Police and, in turn, they respected him.”
Holroyd also worked to provide other services to both Princeton and Mercer County as a whole.
“Princeton lost a good friend in Bob. He helped lay the foundation for many organizations in Mercer County,” Executive Director Stacey Hicks of the Princeton Rescue Squad stated. “He will be missed in our community. He was one of the original founders of the 911 center and still served as the chairman up there.”
During a special meeting Tuesday of the Mercer County Commission, the commissioners offered their condolences to the Holroyd family. County Commissioner Bill Archer said earlier that he considered Holroyd a good friend.
“He was truly what I would consider a southern gentleman. He was active politically, but he was really dedicated to public service and serving the people,” Archer stated. “We didn’t share the same political philosophy, but we were always friends, somebody I became very close to thorough the years. He has been truly helpful to me as a commissioner. He frequently stopped in my office and shared ideas of how the county government system works.”
“He lived in incredible history and talked about it freely,” Archer added. “He and Emilie were good friends of the Kennedys, Jacklyn and Jack (JFK) and they were frequent visitors at the White House during the JFK administration. We talked about that a lot, those types of things.”
Holroyd was also a witness to local history. Archer remembered how his friend helped sort out the legal issues when the National Bank of Keystone collapsed in September 1999. The bank’s president, Knox McConnell, had died in 1997.
“Of course, he handled the Knox McConnell estate litigation, (the Keystone bank) and we had many of good laugh about that,” Archer said. “When they were trying to settle the estate after Knox’s death, he was appointed as the special administrator of the estate. He was a good man and a good friend.”
Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org