Retired Judge Jack B. Weldy died May 10
May 17, 2022
Former Circuit Judge and Supreme Court Magistrate Jack B. Weldy of Hattiesburg died May 10 at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center. He was 87.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 20, at 2 p.m. at Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home in Hattiesburg. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. A private family burial will be in Highland Cemetery.
Judge Weldy served two terms on the 12th Circuit Court of Forrest and Perry counties, 1975 until 1983. He served twice as chairman of the Mississippi Circuit Court Judges Association, and served on the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. He also served on the Joint Committee of Mississippi State and Federal Trial Judges and was a drafter of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, the Mississippi Uniform Criminal Rules of Circuit Court Practice and the Rules of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance.
Retired Chancellor M. Ronald Doleac of Hattiesburg said, “Judge Weldy was an excellent Circuit Judge and the epitome of an honest, ethical, compassionate and hard-working member of our Bar and Judiciary.”
Chancellor Deborah Gambrell Chambers of Hattiesburg recalled her first appointment to represent an indigent defendant in Judge Weldy’s court. The defendant was charged with a sex crime, and she tried to decline the appointment. As a young lawyer and mother, she had never represented anyone on that charge.
“He sat me down and gave me that lawyerly legal talk about our responsibilities and obligations,” she recalled. He told her that everyone deserves good representation, and told her to be zealous in her advocacy. “He is the judge that taught me that when you take that oath as a lawyer, sometimes the ones that are the most guilty need the best representation....He kept your feet to the fire when it came to the law, due process and what we were required to do. There were no shortcuts.”
Circuit Judge Jon Mark Weathers practiced before Judge Weldy when Weathers was district attorney. He described Judge Weldy as a bright jurist who knew the law. Judge Weathers followed Judge Weldy’s habit of reading appellate decisions as soon as they were issued.
“He was always prepared. It was obvious to me that he knew what the law was that applied to a case. I’ve tried to do the same thing,” Judge Weathers said.
In 1990, the Mississippi Supreme Court began its Appellate Magistrate Program to relieve a backlog of appeals and speed up the issuance of decisions. Three magistrates reviewed appeals and submitted recommendations for case decisions. Judge Weldy served as Senior Magistrate, along with Magistrates Billy Gore and John Fraiser. The Magistrate program served as interim relief for the crowded appellate docket before the Legislature created the Court of Appeals, which began hearing cases in January 1995. Judge Fraiser went on to be elected to the Court of Appeals and became its first chief judge. The Magistrate program was concluded in May 1995.
Chief Justice Armis Hawkins in his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the 1993 Legislature said the magistrate program “kept our judicial boat from absolute swamping.”
The Honorable Jack Burkett Weldy was a native of Hattiesburg, the son of Gabriel Burkett Weldy, Jr. and Mildred Caldwell Weldy. He graduated from Hattiesburg High School, and with honors from Mississippi Southern College, now University of Southern Mississippi, in 1956. He was inducted into the USM Hall of Fame, Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities, and Omicron Delta Kappa. He was regimental commander for his ROTC Unit and received his graduating class’ citizenship award.
While at USM, he met his bride, Peggy Anderson, to whom he was married for 65 years.
After graduation, he entered active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served in West Germany as firing platoon commander for a Corporal Missile Unit. He completed active duty in 1958 and accepted a scholarship to Tulane University School of Law. He graduated in 1961 and was employed by Chevron Oil Company as a staff attorney and landman. In 1962, he began the private practice of law in Hattiesburg.
He was a faculty member of the Mississippi Judicial College. He was a member of the Mississippi Bar Commission on Continuing Legal Education and the Mississippi Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He was a member of the South Central Mississippi Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Louisiana State Bar Association. He was active in professional legal organizations such as the American Judicature Society, the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
His obituary is at this link: https://www.hulettwinsteadfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Jack-Burkett-Weldy?obId=24843893#/celebrationWall.