By Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich
Warren Judge, 65, Dare County Commissioner from Kitty Hawk and candidate for the North Carolina House District 6 that represents Ocracoke, died overnight after a brief illness. He had been hospitalized Wednesday night in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk, Va.
According to an article posted today in the OBX Voice, if a candidate dies after the ballots have been printed and before the end of election day, the respective party leaders, in this case, North Carolina House District 6, which includes Dare, Hyde, Washington and parts of Beaufort counties, will choose an eligible candidate to assume the votes cast for Judge, according to Bob Joyce of the UNC School of Government.
Last year, when Paul Tine-U, Kitty Hawk, announced he would not seek re-election, Judge decided to run for that office. In the March Democratic primary, he handily beat opponent Judy Justice and is on the ballot to run against fellow commissioner, Beverly Boswell-R in this Tuesday’s election.
The family released the following statement through Dare County this morning:
“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, Warren C. Judge III.
“We are grateful for, and comforted by, all of Warren’s friends and supporters in Dare County, which he loved so dearly. It was one of the greatest honors of Warren’s life to serve as a Dare County Commissioner for the past 16 years.
“We are also grateful for Warren’s many new friends and supporters he made throughout NC House District 6 over the past year. Warren was looking forward to the opportunity to serve all of the citizens of House District 6 in the NC General Assembly.
“We are immensely grateful for everyone’s prayers and words of comfort during this difficult time.”
Judge grew up in Charlottesville, Va. and graduated from Virginia Wesleyan College with a major in history. After college, his work career began in Greensboro in the hotel business. Twenty-nine years ago, he moved to Dare County to continue working in the hospitality industry, owning and managing lodgings and the Sands Restaurant for 11 years.
A Democrat, Judge had served on the Dare County Board of Commissioners since 2000 and was chairman for 11 years. Prior to moving to Dare County he served three terms on the Jamestown Town Council, Jamestown, N.C.
Judge strongly believed in public service. Some of his many civic activities include serving on the Outer Banks Tourism Board for nine years, five them as chairman, chairing the Joint Committee on Beach Access, director on the Outer Banks Catch Executive Committee, the Shoreline Management Commission, the Dare County Social Services Board and the Dare County Capital Improvements Planning Committee.
In 2011, he and his wife, Tess, were named Outer Banks Citizens of the Year by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce.
He was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores.
“Warren’s been a tremendous friend to me and to Hyde County ever since I’ve gotten to know him as county manager,” Hyde County Manager Bill Rich said today. “He’s always been a strong advocate for the coast and the fishermen, which we also have a tremendous interest in.”
Rich said he is sad that he will not be able to work with Judge on the state level.
He recalled the time when Judge attended his brother-in-law William “Kim” Piddington’s funeral in March 2014 in Collington, Dare County, where Piddington had been the fire chief for 25 years.
“There was Warren in the front row,” Rich said. “He was so genuine about his care and commitment to people. I will miss him.”
On a visit to Ocracoke this summer, Judge weighed in on several issues that prompted his quest to serve in the General Assembly. One of those was working together.
“There is a lot more that brings us together than divides us,” he said. “I will represent all those who vote for me, against me and those who don’t vote such as children. We need to get things done, compromise, come to the table and craft agreements and find commonality.”
Here is how he saw himself, “I’m a worker; I’m blue collar; I believe in the principles of my party, and I ran a business. I’m a hands-on manager. I share my life experiences.”
On Oct. 24, Judge participated in a candidates forum sponsored by The Outer Banks Voice and Milepost magazine at the Waveriders Restaurant in Nags Head. You can watch it by clicking here
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