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Lunching with the governor

Sep. 23, 2012 @ 12:04 AM

Retired Putnam County Circuit Judge O.C. “Hobby” Spaulding was surprised on Thursday, Sept. 13, to be joined for lunch by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin at the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club. Oshel Craigo was also part of the group.

Tomblin, who stopped by following an appointment in Huntington, said he wanted to thank the judge “for his service to Putnam County and the state of West Virginia.”

Spaulding, who spent 19 years as a Putnam County Circuit Judge, announced in August 2011 that he had been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) — commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease — which is a progressive neurological disease that causes loss of muscle strength and coordination. He retired from the bench on Dec. 31, 2011.

Having lost his ability to speak, Spaulding uses an electronic device that converts the words he types into computer-generated speech. The disease, however, has not affected his sense of humor. Looking around at Tomblin and Craigo, he laughed and said, “They’re ganging up on me.”

Spaulding, who earned his law degree from West Virginia University, worked as an attorney, 10 years as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Putnam County, five years as the prosecuting attorney, and 19 years as a Putnam County Circuit Judge.

He is married to Cabell County Circuit Judge Jane Hustead.