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Funeral Arrangements Set For Elliott "Spike" Maynard

Reported: May. 2, 2014 11:29 AM EDT
Updated: May. 2, 2014 8:12 PM EDT

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Services will be held Sunday for former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard.

The court said Maynard died Thursday at a Charleston hospital. He was 71.

Visitation will be held Saturday at Weaver Mortuary in Williamson. His funeral will be Sunday at Belfry Baptist Church in Goody, Kentucky.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered state flags to half staff for Sunday.

Maynard was elected to a 12-year term as a Democrat in 1996.

Maynard drew criticism when it was disclosed he vacationed on the French Riviera with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship in 2006 before voting with the majority in a 3-2 decision reversing a $76 million judgment against Massey. Maynard recused himself when the court reheard the case. He lost his re-election bid a few months later.

Maynard switched parties and unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for Congress in 2010

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes, Kennie Bass, AP) – Reaction continues to pour in to the passing of former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard.

Maynard died Thursday at a Charleston hospital, according to a news release from the state Supreme Court. He was 71. The release did not list a cause of death.

The Supreme Court released statements from justices reacting to Maynard’s death.

Justice Brent Benjamin said Maynard "loved the law. He loved West Virginia and with all his heart, he loved Mingo County. In many ways, Spike was larger than life."

Justice Margaret Workman said you learn a lot about someone when you sit next to that person every day.

“Spike Maynard was a very kind person and he cared about people,” Workman said. “As a judge, he knew when to be tough and when to be compassionate. He was a true gentleman."

News of Maynard’s death drew a strong reaction from Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis.

"I am devastated at the loss of one of the best friends I'll ever have,” Davis said. “His charm and wit. His grace and kindness. His wisdom and insight. Life just won't be the same.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Maynard has been a friend for many years.

"I'd known him even back when he was a circuit judge before he came to the Supreme Court," Tomblin said. "He was a very kind, compassionate, caring man. He always had a good sense of humor, and I enjoyed the time I spent with him. Very sad day for his family with his passing.Joanne and I were very saddened last night when we heard of the news."

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also issued a statement on the passing of Maynard.

"I am saddened to hear of the passing of Spike Maynard,” Morrisey said. “He was a devoted and talented lawyer and Supreme Court justice, and his love for West Virginia and her people was evident."

The Mingo County native was elected to a 12-year term on the court as a Democrat in 1996. He switched parties and unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for Congress in 2010.

In 2007, Maynard drew criticism when it was disclosed that he had vacationed on the French Riviera with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship before voting with the majority in a 3-2 decision reversing a $76 million judgment against Massey. He recused himself when the court reheard the case. He lost his re-election bid a few months later.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., who faced an election challenge from Maynard in 2010, reacted to the death of his former opponent.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Spike's family and many friends at this difficult time,” Rahall said. “While national political agendas may have temporarily sidelined the cordiality of our long friendship, anyone who knew Spike knows how engaging and warm his personality could be. His passing is far, far too soon, given his many talents and abilities that could have continued to serve our State."

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who campaigned alongside with Maynard in his run for Congress, offered her thoughts in a post on Twitter.

“Saddened by the death of Spike Maynard, a good friend and devoted public servant,” Capito said. “My condolences go out to his family and friends.”

The Association Press contributed to this report.

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