Those who stood for more than an hour to pay their respects to Judge Mark W. Wall as well as the pictures that flashed on the screen at the funeral home Wednesday night showed the diversity of the fallen Middletown Municipal Court judge.
Fellow judges, attorneys, business leaders, family and friends and criminals stood side by side during the visitation for Wall, the 70-year-old judge who died Saturday after suffering a cardiovascular event at home.
The pictures on the screen and those taped to poster board throughout the funeral home captured a man who fought for his country, and who loved his family, athletics, veterans and the outdoors.
During the four-hour visitation, members of the Middletown Division of Police Honor Guard stood solemnly next to Wall’s casket that featured a U.S. Army emblem in the lid, representing his service with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
The line of mourners snaked out of the main room, down the hall and into another room. There were mourners dressed in suits and ties and those in blue jeans and tennis shoes.
Middletown attorney Melynda Cook Howard wasn’t surprised by the large crowd that gathered Wednesday night at Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home.
“He was loved by everybody,” said Cook Howard, who attended the visitation with her husband, Greg Howard, who was recently appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to succeed the late Butler County Common Pleas Judge Craig Hedric.
“…He treated everybody fairly. Justly, but fairly. He had compassion, he had understanding, and he understood the people in front of him,” she said “You have a diverse community here. You can’t just sit there and be a man with a robe on. You have to be the judge who understands there are struggles to be had. He was firm when called for it.”
She mentioned that Judge Wall considered a person and the impact a sentence would have on them and their family. Wall knew, for instance, if he sentenced an AK Steel employee to 30 days in jail, that person could lose his job and possibly their home.
“He would think about the consequence to the person and the family to that person in all aspects,” Cook Howard said.
She paused, then added: “He was the best judge I ever appeared before. Ever. Hands down.”
Cook Howard, along with Middletown attorney James Sherron, has pulled petitions for Wall’s seat. A third petition was pulled, but the person requested to remain anonymous.
A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. today, Feb. 16, at Holy Family Parish-Holy Trinity Church, 201 Clark St., Middletown with Father John Civille as celebrant.
Interment will follow at Woodside Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Middletown Combined Honor Guard and the Middletown Police Department.