WOMACK Stephen H. Womack, 65, Superior Court judge Judge Stephen H. Womack, Passaic Countys first black state Superior Court judge, died Sunday. He was 65. Services will be on Saturday, March 22, 2008, at 9 a.m. at St. Lukes Baptist Church, 139 Carroll St., Paterson. Interment is in Cedar Lawn Cemetery. Friends may visit on Friday from 1 to 9 p.m. at New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 207-209 Broadway, Paterson. Bragg Funeral Home, 256 Rosa Parks Blvd., Paterson, will be handling the arrangements. Born and raised in Roanoke, Va., Judge Womack was a 1961 graduate of Lucy Addison High School and went on to receive his B.A. in 1965 from Talladega College in Alabama, where he would also become a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Though he maintained strong roots to his childhood home, he was a longtime resident of Paterson, having resided there for most of his adult life. A young man of the Civil Rights era, Judge Womack, invigorated with a spirit to help his fellow man, came to Paterson following his graduation from the prestigious Harvard Law School. It was here that he began a lifetime of service to the community by working as a Passaic County Legal Aid Society attorney. Later, the partnership of Womack and Cornish Law Office was established with the late Municipal Court Judge Harry L. Cornish, in downtown Paterson. He would leave private practice in 1976 to join the Union County Public Defenders Office, where he served for nearly 20 years. During this time, he remained active and committed to the needs of Paterson by serving as a member of the Paterson Rent Leveling Board, as campaign attorney during Rev. Albert P. Rowes bid for the office of mayor, and for several years as a scout leader of local Boy Scout Troop 842. In 1995, during the week that America honored the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Judge Womack took the oath of office as the first black Superior Court judge of Passaic County, a nomination bestowed on him by then Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. While active in his tenure as Superior Court judge, he presided over both the Family and Juvenile divisions of the county court. He was chairman of the countys Committee for Minority Concerns, as well as chairman of the subcommittee in charge of organizing and sponsoring, in conjunction with the Passaic County Bar Association, the Annual Law Day Event, a day of civic recognition held in local schools which is set aside to introduce and celebrate the rule of law and legal process with the countys youth. In 1997, Judge Womack was honored by the Paterson Pastors Workshop as its Man of the Year. In 2005, after having served as a deacon for 22 years, 10 of which were as head of the Deacon Board, Judge Womack was licensed as a minister under the tutelage of his pastor, the late Rev. Alfred P. Blakely, at New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. He was predeceased by his parents, Stephen A. and Beulah Womack; a brother, Cornelius Benny Womack; a daughter, Sharon J. Womack, and a grandson, Justin K. Gilchrist. Surviving are his wife of 43 years, Margaret R. Womack; three daughters, Denise Womack, Anita Womack and Stephanie Gilchrist; a son, Stephen T. Womack; a nephew, Andre Whitten; a son-in-law, Keith D. Gilchrist; a granddaughter, Ebony K. Gilchrist, and an adopted granddaughter, Shacara Thomas. DEATH NOTICES
Published in The Star-Ledger on Mar. 19, 2008.