Midland County Judge's Legacy Remembered

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - Back in September, 2009, Midland County District Judge John Hyde went to the doctor for a routine check-up.

But what the doctor found would change his life, and the lives of his family and friends, forever.

"It was a tumor," Hyde's oldest daughter, Hillary Lovell, said. "He chose to fight that for all of us, we begged him to, and he fought that for all of us and it gave us two more great years with him."

Hyde was diagnosed with non-smoker's lung cancer and successfully battled it for two years, but then the cancer spread to the lining in his brain and led to his tragic death on Monday at 69-years-old.

But what he taught his family and his friends lives on.

"He was my mentor, he was a mentor for hundreds of people," Lovell said.

Hyde's colleagues like County Judge Mike Bradford and Sheriff Gary Painter had known him since the 1970's. He was elected to the 238th District Court in 1990.

To them, Hyde was not only one of the best authorities on the law, but also the biggest buff of Midland County's history, reminding them of their heritage and where they came from.

"The thing that I always remember is we sat in a meeting of judges and we were talking about case loads. It was pointed out that Judge Hyde's case load exceeded everybody else's by multiple," Bradford said. "Judge Hyde quickly commented to all of us: 'If they've got to be tried, I'll do it. Quit worrying about the numbers.'"

"Knew the law, knew how to apply it, was honest and fair," Painter said. "Judge Hyde was a judge."

Hyde was described as always being active in the law, instrumental in the creation of Midland County's new courthouse and most recently writing opinions on the law for the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

His daughter said even near his death, Hyde was thinking about others.

"To the end, he was worried about the county and the business of the courthouse," Lovell said. "To the end, he wanted to make sure that everyone else was taken care of."

County officials said that constant drive will be his legacy.

"Brilliant in the law, but was knowledgeable of people," Painter said. "That's a rare find. I'm going to miss him a lot."

Hyde's funeral will be set for this Thursday. Where and when it will be has not been decided yet.

Hyde's daughter told NewsWest 9 the family hopes it can be at First Baptist Church in Midland, where Hyde and his wife, Sharon, were married, as well as where his oldest daughter and her husband were married.