Judge Weldon Don C. Judah, 68, St. Joseph, passed away unexpectedly following recent heart issues on Thursday, July 13, 2017, at his home.
He was born July 2, 1949, to Samuel Weldon and Ernestine Idean (Schindler) Judah, in St. Joseph. Don grew up on the Schindler-Judah farm of Andrew County and graduated from Savannah High School in 1967 as student body president and captain of the football team. He served six years with the Missouri National Guard and was honorably discharged in August of 1973 after working as a medic with the 139th Air National Guard Unit.
Meanwhile, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in May of 1972 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May of 1980. Along his path to public service, Don was employed as a farm hand, a construction laborer, in a warehouse, in an office as a lawyer, and as an Assistant Buchanan County Prosecutor from 1982-1986. He believed knowing a life of both blue-collar and white-collar jobs brought experience that shaped his attitude toward the field of law and allowed him to understand the concerns and values of people.
After representing plaintiffs and defendants in all types of civil cases, and prosecuting and defending hundreds of criminal cases, Don ran for and won his first bid for St. Joseph Municipal Court Judge of the 5th Circuit and served from 1986-1988. Following further successful campaigns, he served as Buchanan County Associate Circuit Judge of Division 6 from 1989-1995. He was appointed in 1995 to the Division 2 bench as a Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge by Governor Mel Carnahan, was reelected to the position in 1998, 2004, and 2010, and dutifully held the position until his retirement in December of 2016. In total, Judge Judah served 30 honorable years on the bench and heard thousands of criminal and civil cases. While a civil servant of Buchanan and Andrew Counties, he took greatest honor in helping children navigate the tumult of divorce and officiating weddings and adoptions.
A man of depth, humility, and humor, Don met Linda Bachman, the love of his life, during his days in the Prosecutors Office. They married on September 24, 1983, and had two daughters, whom he loved dearly; Linda survives of the home.
Don was a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, the Missouri Bar Association, St. Joseph Bar Association, American Legion Pony Express Post 359, and Fraternal Order of Eagles, St. Joseph Aerie No. 49. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by Missouri Western State University in 2002.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and brother-in-law, Dan Elkins.
Additional survivors include: two daughters, Idean Deana Bindel (Joe), and Abby Judah (fiance;, Blake Bennett); brother, Charles Judah (Diana); sister, Ann Elkins; uncle, Melvin Judah; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. His first grandchild is due in September of 2017.
Mass of Christian Burial: 10 a.m. Monday, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
Interment: Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family will gather with friends 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a contribution are encouraged to donate to the Friends of the Free Clinic, in support of the Buchanan County Social Welfare Board, of which his beloved wife is Executive Director.
Online guestbook and obituary at www.meierhoffer.com.
As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.