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Former Kanawha magistrate McGinnis dies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former Kanawha County magistrate Warren G. McGinnis, affectionately known as "Magoo," died this weekend in Clarksburg after a long illness. He was 82.

McGinnis, a retired Charleston police officer and military veteran, served his judicial post from 2004 to 2007, when he resigned for health reasons. He was replaced by current magistrate Jack Pauley.

McGinnis served about 34 years in the military before becoming a police officer. He served an additional 20 years on the police force. McGinnis also was a master electrician.

McGinnis was a perennial contender for public office, having suffered a number of defeats before finally winning the magistrate post in 2004. His campaign for that election showcased his fiery spirit.

"The newspaper called me persistent," he told the Gazette editorial board at the time. "I ain't afraid of anybody. Some of my fellow police officers said I could start a fight at a one-car funeral. [They said] I'd need a safety belt in the chair as a magistrate so I wouldn't get up and knock a guy in the head for calling me a bad name."

McGinnis leaves behind four children -- daughter Evie McGinnis McPherson, and sons Pat, Mike and Chris McGinnis.

"He was just a very kind soul," McPherson said of her father. "He was the type of man who would give his shirt off his back if he thought you needed it."

Longtime friend Kanawha County Magistrate Kim Aaron said she remembers McGinnis as a light-spirited, generous man whom she teased often about his messy van and his propensity to ask a lot questions.

 "I remember fondly that he would always come to me and ask questions," Aaron said. "I had a 100-question limit. After 100 questions, he would have to go ask someone else."

Funeral arrangements were not available Tuesday.

Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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