Charles Edmondson, 84, circuit, district judge in Dorchester County

April 21, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Charles E. Edmondson, a retired judge in Dorchester County, died Saturday of cancer at his Cambridge residence. He was 84.

Judge Edmondson was appointed to the Dorchester County District Court by Gov. Marvin Mandel in 1971 and served as administrative judge of the District Court for the 2nd District, which includes Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties.

In 1975, he was appointed to the Circuit Court for Dorchester County and served until 1984, when he reached the mandatory retirement age. He was recalled by the Court of Appeals and continued to sit in District and Circuit courts past 80.

"He served with distinction in both the District and Circuit courts and was highly respected," said Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals. "He continued to be a valuable member of the judiciary even after he retired."

Judge Daniel M. Long of the Somerset County Circuit Court remembered Judge Edmondson as "a solid, no-nonsense judge who could quickly cut to the chase."

"He was quiet and scholarly," said Dorchester County Circuit Judge Donald F. Johnson, who filled the vacancy created by Judge Edmondson's retirement. "He was highly revered by the legal profession. He was always prepared and expected attorneys to be so when they came into his courtroom. He was forthright but always fair, very fair."

At lunchtime, while others would head to a nearby restaurant, Judge Edmondson would stroll through Cambridge.

"Frequently at lunchtime, he'd walk three miles," Judge Johnson said. "It kept him both physically fit and mentally sharp."

Judge Edmondson was born in Dorchester County and graduated from Cambridge High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in 1936 and a law degree from UM's law school in 1940.

Admitted to the Maryland Bar Association that year, he went into private practice.

He was a Democratic member of the House of Delegates from Dorchester County in 1947 and 1948 but resigned his seat for an appointment as state's attorney.

He was city attorney for Cambridge from 1952 to 1963.

He was appointed to the state Public Service Commission by Gov. J. Millard Tawes in 1961 and reappointed to the position by Mr. Mandel in 1969.

Judge Edmondson was president of the Dorchester County Bar Association and sat on the board of governors of the state bar association. He was a member of the American Bar Association and the Dorchester County Democratic State Central Committee from 1958 to 1961.

He was a delegate to the 1952 Democratic National Convention.

He was a former president of the Cambridge-Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Cambridge Elks Lodge No. 1272 and Masonic Lodge No. 66 A.F. & A.M. He also had held offices in the Cambridge Country Club, Cambridge Yacht Club and the Dorchester County Historical Society.

Judge Edmondson was a communicant of Christ Episcopal Church in Cambridge, where he had been a vestryman.

An avid fisherman, he won the 1977 Hatteras Blue Marlin Tournament when he landed a 667-pound marlin.

Graveside services were held yesterday.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, the former Janice James; three sons, Charles E. Edmondson Jr., J. Bryan Edmondson and Ronald Willey, all of Cambridge; and a granddaughter.

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