David Harwell (1932 - 2015)

  • "Still loving you my husband. Your wife eternally, Debbie"
    - D Harwell
  • "In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you..."
    - Mike Chestnut
  • "A great man and friend. So sad for his loss."
    - Ben Page
  • "Debbie, this was a wonderful article about a wonderful..."
    - Dale & Nancy Stancil
  • "Debbie and Family, So sorry for your loss. He was a fine..."
    - Tim and Lou Jane Chestnut

The Honorable Judge
David W Harwell
January 8, 1932 - September 30, 2015
North Myrtle Beach
The Honorable SC Chief Justice (Retired) David W. Harwell, 83, passed away on September 30, 2015. He was born in Mars Bluff, SC on January 8, 1932. For the past 21-years, he resided in Horry County. Before death, he was a resident of the Methodist Manor in Florence.
Harwell was the son of Lacy Rankin and Baxter Hicks Harwell, Sr. He graduated from McClenaghan High School in Florence in 1950. He attended the University of Texas and received his law degree from the USC School of Law in 1958. He was a staunch Gamecock fan. He was in private practice with his brother Hicks and served in the SC House of Representatives from 1963 to 1973. He benefited the Pee Dee through serving as Chairman of the Agricultural Study Committee and being a strong member of the Ways and Means Committee. He was known to all as a Southern Statesman with a deep bellow of infectious laughter.
The Judge's favorite work was sitting in the state's county courthouses, listening to cases, working with juries and striking up a conversation with anyone nearby. He was friends with every sector of society, the rich, and the poor, black or white. The Chief loved people and was special to many.
He joined the SC Supreme Court in 1980 and was elected Chief Justice in 1991. He worked to get mediation into SC as a means of dispute resolution. He approved the use of genetic testing in criminal cases and recognized battered women's syndrome as a defense in court. He tried the first death penalty case after the death penalty was restored in 1976. He was most proud of his work to allow cameras in SC courtrooms because he believed it to be a deterrent to crime. Upon retirement he gained a reputation as a national mediator, arbitrator and speaker on ADR. He was a mediator trainer for the US Department of Justice at the National Advocacy Center. After leaving public service, he was associated with Nelson-Mullins and lastly with the Bell Legal Group in Georgetown.
His military service was unique in that he served in the Navy, Army and US Airforce.
The Judge worked hard and played hard. In his youth, he was an outstanding baseball player. During his adult life, he loved golf and enjoyed the Surf Club FP Supper Club. He was a noted hunter and traveled every year to Canada. He was a lover of animals and had a pet deer, German Shepherd, two raccoons and every other animal he could catch during his lifetime. He enjoyed riding his Harley Motorcycle. He liked to call turkey and was known for carrying around a to-go plate on the front seat of the car to feed the animals along the way. The NC Mountains held a special place in his heart with many close friends. He and his wife Debbie traveled the world for the past 18-years and enjoyed friends everywhere.
Of all of his accomplishments, he was most proud of his children, both with law degrees. He is survived by Baxter (Teresa) Harwell; The Honorable US District Judge Bryan (Debbie) Harwell; his wife, Deborah Boggs Harwell; step-son Mike Putnam (Becca); four grandchildren, Walker, Mason, Sarah Nell and Carson Harwell and three step-grandchildren Grayson, Chase and Cohen Putnam; a sister Anne Hill and brothers The Honorable Retired Judge Jim (Kay) Harwell and Joe Harwell; two sister-in-law's Nancy and Margaret Harwell; plus many nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his parents; two brothers, the Rev. Lacy Harwell and the Honorable Judge Hicks Harwell; a brother-in-law Glenn Hill; and a 12-year old son David Walker Harwell, Jr. His constant companion, a black Lab Boo Bear, will greatly miss him.
He was a member at First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach, Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Florence and attended the Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church in NMB.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorials can be made to either Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 5314 Old River Rd., Florence, SC 29505 or to the Grandfather Home for Children, 158 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Banner Elk, NC 286011. Condolences can be made on-line at www.stoudenmiredowling.com or by mailing address: PO Box 7769, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572.
Funeral Home
Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home
2402 South Irby Street
Florence, SC 29505
(843) 662-5251
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Published in The Sun News on Oct. 5, 2015
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