Archived Story

Attorney, magistrate John Kehoe remembered

Published 10:09am Thursday, July 11, 2013

Longtime Lawrence County attorney and former magistrate John Kehoe died on Tuesday at the age of 69.

Most recently Kehoe was a defense attorney following 25 years on the bench as the county’s magistrate handling domestic relations cases including divorces and child custody issues.

Before that post, Kehoe was an assistant prosecutor under then-Lawrence County Prosecutor Richard Meyers during the late 1970s.

“John was really comfortable in what he did,” Meyers said. “As a prosecutor, we had him on the firing line. He was comfortable with that. He was a very excellent magistrate. He could make decisions. He made them and made them pretty quick. I kept up with John and when he became a defense attorney, I enjoyed giving him a hard time.”

Before going on the bench, Kehoe was in practice with Ironton attorney John Wolfe starting in 1979. Wolfe is godfather to Kehoe’s two oldest children.

“John was calm,” Wolfe said. “He wasn’t very excitable. He was dedicated to the law and doing what was right. John was always level-headed and I think being a magistrate is a lot like being a judge. You are the calm presence.”

Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson called Kehoe’s death “very sad news. As domestic relations magistrate, he was able to control his docket. He moved his cases along and that is important to get quick resolutions. He was effective as a magistrate.”

After leaving the post of magistrate in June 2009, Kehoe became a defense attorney, often appearing in front of Lawrence County Municipal Judge Donald R. Capper.

“I appeared in front of him when he was a magistrate and he worked in my court for the last few years,” Capper said. “He was a good and fair man and seemed to enjoy life and practicing law. He will be missed.”

Funeral services are pending at Phillips Funeral Home.

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