FRONT ROYAL — A portrait of Judge William Sharp looking stern but fair now hangs in Warren County Circuit Court.

The painting was unveiled Friday during a retirement ceremony for Sharp, who spent 28 years on the bench, mostly in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in several counties. He spent the last few years as Warren County Circuit Court judge.

The painting of his classic round glasses and bowtie was unveiled by Sharp and family members — his wife, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter — whom he will be spending more time with now that he has entered retirement at age 69.

The importance of law in today’s divisive and lawless times was among Sharp’s final words in front of over a dozen judges who are currently serving on the bench and have served throughout the area’s 26th Judicial District.

The judicial system stands against chaos, and for truth and justice, Sharp explained.

“It will only stay that way as long as both the judiciary and the legal community remain committed to those values.”

Let people be heard, although it doesn’t always mean agreeing with them; being patient as much as possible; not being afraid to be wrong; being fair to all, and respecting and following the law, which may not always seem fair, were all guiding words from Sharp.

“But following the law is crucial to fundamental fairness of law,” Sharp said. “Remember our core laws and principles are products of centuries of development...if we cannot rely on the consistent application of the law [for] all the work before the court, then the law loses its meaning and its purpose.”

Several thanks were given by Sharp to his wife for tending to the family all the times he couldn’t while overseeing dockets; his children for dealing with his absences or when he was distracted; the several clerks he’s worked with; court security; building maintenance staff, the local bar associations of attorneys and residents who served on jury’s in the court room, by Sharp.

Born in Baltimore in 1953, Sharp came to Front Royal to work at the satellite office of Winchester-based Largent, Anderson, Larrick and Groves law firm after graduating from law school at William & Mary. He attended Yale University for his undergraduate degree and Kent School, a{span} private, co-educational college preparatory school in Connecticut.

It was retired judge David Crump, he said, who recruited him for the law office from a job waiting tables job when he was fresh out of law school. He went on to become involved in several legal associations, civic organizations and receive numerous awards. Warren County Circuit Court Clerk Angie Moore fought back tears while speaking of Sharp’s dedication to the profession.

Retired Judge Ronald Napier commented on Sharp being a northerner, a “Yankee,” but he was almost a “southern gentleman.” Sharp, Napier said, never called him a “dummy” when they had differing legal opinions. The admiration for his family was noted by Juvenile Domestic and Relations Court judge Elizabeth Kellas Burton, and his willingness to help was appreciated by retired judge William H. Logan Jr.

“I want to tell you, Bill Sharp is a judge’s judge,” Logan said.

Judge Alexander R. Iden, who presided over the ceremony, noted how such events can typically turn into a roast, as several moments of laughter broke out during the ceremony. But the details of his lengthy resume demonstrated Sharp’s record of putting others before self, Iden said.

“The best part has been the access to his intellect and his collegiality,” Iden said.

Contact Charles Paullin at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

We will consider two submissions per writer per month. Letters: 250 or fewer words. Commentaries: Under 500 words. You may submit a photo with a Commentary if you like. Email submissions to