San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 19th, 2009
Longtime Judge Warner loses battle with cancer


Longtime Hays County Court at Law Judge Howard S. Warner died Saturday after succumbing to esophageal cancer. He was 67.

“Until the chemo kicks my butt, as I am fully aware it will, I intend to stay on the job, doing what I do. After the treatment is over and I am well enough to come back to work, I will do so. I intend to complete this term in office,” Warner wrote May 20 in an e-mail circulated among county employees.

Warner wrote that he underwent radiation and chemotherapy starting more than a year ago to treat a cancerous tumor in his throat, which was thought to be in remission until May 1. He wrote, “This recurrence, as many of you have noticed, has affected my voice box and that’s why I am talking funny. There are certain things my voice will not let me do, but I do expect to work as usual.”

Warner served 27 years on the bench, most recently winning re-election in 2006.

Visitation is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Pennington Memorial Chapel, 323 N. Comanche St., in San Marcos. Services are scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Tejas Hall building at Texas Old Towne, 1205 Roland Ln., in Kyle.


UPDATE 2 p.m. July 20: Warner’s daughter, Michelle “Missie” Warner Haislip, released the following statement on behalf her family through Hays County spokesperson Laureen Chernow:

“We’d like to thank the professional community and social groups here in Hays County that knew and worked with our Dad for the outpouring of love and generosity shown to the family.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who were close to him and who let us know he made a difference in their lives. In his last days he was more concerned that his family, friends and co-workers were all okay than he was about himself – that’s the way he conducted himself throughout his life, with concern for others.

“He treated people with integrity and respect his entire life; he followed the Golden Rule. He didn’t see people by the color of their skin, their financial status or their profession, he looked at the heart of the person. He judged people with honesty and integrity and hoped he would be treated the same way.

“Again, our thanks to the entire community for their support and friendship.”

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4 thoughts on “Longtime Judge Warner loses battle with cancer

  1. I just learned that Howard Warner died. Shortly thereafter my phone started ringing with people trying to figure out who to get this one appointed to fill the seat or that one. My view is that we have lost a great man, not just a great Judge. He will be a hard man to replace. I hope that we will not see a repeat of the spectacle of what happened after Sherriff Bridges died with so many divergent interest groups each striving to get the “man” ( or “women”) elected by the commissioners court. Many of us in the Court house community are aware of the jockeying that has preceded Judge Warner’s untimely death. The DAs office has their favorite son and other groups have their preferred candidate all of whom have been quietly lobbying the Commissioners Court.

    I urge all of the candidates to stop it and give it a rest. Its unseemly and uncalled for, With a 3 to 1 vote it’s obvious that it will be a democrat. I urge all of the potential candidates to allow some time for mourning and grace. For many of us who practice law in Hays County Judge Warner has been a constant in our lives and we all need time to adjust. The Commissioners Court will make the decision and perhaps they may even decide to simply let a visiting judge appear from time to time to save funds and let each candidate face the real voters rather than the commissioners court. I don’t know, all I know is that after the word got out I received numerous calls from interested parties who all seem to believe that I am somehow a player in this, I am not, do not want to be and am grieving the loss of a respected colleague and work mate.

    So, I hope that all fractions in the Democratic party let time heal some wounds before the inane politics begins again.

  2. Hays County has lost a good man. Judge Warner was one of the most honorable men I have ever had the honor of knowing. I echo David’s statement and hope our commissioners won’t embarrass Hays County again by playing politics when we should be mourning. There is a time for politics and a time for respect. This time, let’s try and get it right. God Bless you Judge, may you rest in peace.

  3. Judge Warner, thanks for always being so good to Amy. I am sure you will be deeply missed by many people.

  4. In a way, I’m lucky. I grew up in Vicksburg as a contemporary and close friend of Howard Warner. We traveled in the “same crowd” or so it might have been put at the time. Life was easy for some in Vicksburg, lots of parties, dancing and friendships mattered. Howard was among the fortunate.

    Yet, these were historic times in the deep south, including Vicksburg. Our formulative years there included civil rights turmoil, blatant discrimination, and denied opportunities. We actually experienced separate water fountains, rest rooms, and vastly unequal schools. When our textbooks were out of date, they found new life in the segregated black schools. All of these events had the potential to create a lasting affect and a deep reservoir of empathy. It happened to some of us and yet not to others. As I read the story of Howard’s amazing life, I do indeed believe that as adults we would have continued to have been kindred spirits.

    Sometime during our high school yrs, Howard left us to attend a prep school. Our contact from that time forward during return trips to MS would have been at class reunions, and since Howard Warner was not a member of our 125 member graduating class of 1960, I can’t recall that our paths ever crossed.

    As a resident of Texas for decades, a frequent visitor to Austin,and a born again Democrat I am profoundly saddened at what I see as a lost opportunity. I not only was unaware of his proximity, but also of the common passions of our lives. I would have loved to have known Howard the man, the Judge, the community activist. It would have been an honor to have met his family, to have had him meet mine, to brag about our respective children & grand children and to have learned more about his involvement in behalf of young people, especially the needy.

    I wonder if he knew or maybe was a friend of Ann Richards, Molly Ivins, Ronnie Earle or others topping my list of Texas heroic legends.

    To his family, his coworkers and his constituents, I send condolences. And as I hope you can glean from this message, I truely join you in your sorrow. Life is indeed short. Heed my message, keep in touch with your friends.

    Susan Silver Oviatt
    Richardson, TX

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