Lexington County Administrator Art Brooks
212 S. Lake Drive, Lexington, SC 29072
Sunday, April 30, 2006
DEDICATION OF MARC H. WESTBROOK
LEXINGTON COUNTY JUDICIAL CENTER
A large crowd of Lexington County citizens, South Carolina judges, Lexington County elected officials and other dignitaries attended a dedication ceremony on Sunday, April 30 for the Marc H. Westbrook Lexington County Judicial Center at 205 East Main Street in Lexington.
Lexington County Council named the Judicial Center for 11th Circuit Judge Marc H. Westbrook in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to the citizens of Lexington County and the instrumental role that the judge played in planning and building the courthouse.
“This is a historic event to rename and dedicate this Judicial Center. We, as a council, understand the importance of renaming the people’s temple of justice,” said County Council Chairman M. Todd Cullum. “God put us on this earth to serve God and each other. Judge Marc Westbrook understood that, and he served God, his family, his community and our state.”
The ceremony also included the dedication of a memorial fountain in memory of the judge and Randall Davis, Jr., who was Judge Westbrook’s law clerk, and the dedication of a red maple tree in Davis’ memory. Davis and Judge Westbrook died in a car crash on Sept. 14, 2005. A portrait of Judge Westbrook that will be displayed in the Marc H. Westbrook Courtroom on the fourth floor of the Judicial Center also was unveiled during the ceremony.
Davis was a role model for law clerks across South Carolina, said S. Prentiss Counts, a former law clerk. Counts said 41 law clerks contributed money for memorials in Davis’ name.
“Randall loved his family, and he loved politics. He dreamed of beginning his service as a member of Lexington County Council,” Counts said. “We remember all the good things that Randall would have brought to our state.”
The Westbrook family received a resolution from the South Carolina Circuit Court Judges Association that was presented by 16th Circuit Judge John C. Hayes, III. Hayes said Westbrook earned a reputation as a legal expert and wise counsellor.
“We recognize Judge Westbrook for his dedication and compassion,” Hayes said. “He was a friend, coach and role model for the youth of our state.”
Lexington County Legislative Delegation Chairman Mac Toole also made a presentation to the Westbrook family. He said that he was honored to call Judge Westbrook a friend.
“Judge Westbrook always dealt with issues respectfully and handled things honourably,” Toole, R-Lexington, said. “It is an honor for us to put Judge Westbrook’s name on this building.”
State Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, said Judge Westbrook remained a humble and compassionate man who never forgot his roots. He said the judge always treated everyone with respect.
“He wore the mantle of judge with tremendous humility,” Setzler said. “The highest compliment we can pay Judge Westbrook is that he never quit being Marc. He touched us all in a different way.”
State Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington, presented the Order of the Palmetto Patriot - the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by the lieutenant governor of South Carolina - to Judge Westbrook and his family.
“Marc was loyal to his friends. You did not have to worry where he stood,” Knotts said. “You could call him at any time of day or night. He was a true patriot.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson presented the Westbrook family with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
“This building reflects Judge Westbrook’s vision of a world-class Judicial Center,” Wilson said. “Judge Westbrook loved the law clerks who worked for him. He inspired young people to do their best.”
The Marc H. Westbrook Endowed Scholarship was established at the University of South Carolina Law School, where Westbrook earned his law degree. In awarding the scholarship, the law school will give preference to students who live in Lexington County. People who want more information about the scholarship can access www.westbrookscholarship.org on the Internet.
Robert E. Newton, president of the Lexington County Bar Association, unveiled a painting of Judge Westbrook that was commissioned by lawyers who practice law in Lexington County. Newton said Judge Westbrook earned the respect of lawyers who appeared before him.
“Judge Westbrook was an integral part of the Lexington community and Lexington legal community for many years,” Newton said. “It made you proud to say you were a lawyer because he was a lawyer.”
South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal said Judge Westbrook was a steadfast friend who would have been humbled to know that his beloved Judicial Center was named in his honor. Justice Toal said Judge Westbrook loved politics and public gatherings.
“Time has not eased our profound sense of grief, anguish and loss. Lexington County Council has given us an incredible gift of healing by dedicating its most important public building to Judge Westbrook,” Justice Toal said. “Adversity did not harden Marc. It made him sensitive to the travails of others. Marc literally changed the face of justice in Lexington County.”
“In the judicial history of South Carolina, the name of Judge Westbrook will be writ large,” Justice Toal said. “His name will endure for the ages in this community.”
Thad Westbrook, Judge Westbrook’s oldest son, thanked everyone for attending the dedication ceremony and contributing to memorials made in the judge’s honor. He said the tributes and memorials helped ease the pain of a “dark moment in many of our lives.”
“My father would be humbled and amazed that you thought his name would be worthy of this Judicial Center,” Thad Westbrook said. “He worked every day at being the best possible jurist in the state of South Carolina.”
Judge Westbrook enjoyed everything associated with planning and building the Judicial Center, Thad Westbrook said. During construction, the judge put on his hard hat and reviewed blueprints for the building, gave tours of the building and took hundreds of photos of the building.
“He was proud of this grand courthouse. The construction of the courthouse was a real labor of love for my father. He wanted to watch over construction of this courthouse from beginning to end,” Thad Westbrook said. “For my father, court has adjourned for the last time.”