Charles R. Crowder
[in memoriam 1937-2010]
Charles Rogers Crowder, retired Jefferson County Circuit Judge and a founding shareholder of Cory Watson Attorneys, died January 15, 2010, at the age of 72.
Judge Crowder's legal career spanned 48 years. He first served as law clerk to the Hon. Walter Gewin, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. He then returned to Birmingham, where he was engaged in the private practice of law until his appointment by Gov. George Wallace in 1973 to the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Jefferson County. He was a circuit court judge in the criminal courts until 1984, when he made the rare move to the civil courts.
He was elected presiding judge for the circuit in 1991 and served until his retirement in 1992. He was slated to serve as the next president of the Alabama Circuit Judges Association at the time of his judicial retirement. In 1992 he joined the law firm of Johnson & Cory and in 1995 was one of the founding shareholders of Cory Watson Attorneys.
He loved jury trials and returned to the courtroom as a lawyer and advocate. His greatest achievements in the law were not the famous cases he presided on as a judge or any large verdicts he won as a lawyer, but the service he gave to the citizens and his clients and the hundreds of young lawyers he mentored who are practicing law today.
He was a scholar and avid reader. He had an amazing memory and often quoted lengthy passages from the Bible, Shakespeare, and historical documents accurately and always appropriately. He had an extensive vocabulary and knew the most wonderfully descriptive words and phrases. He was a convincing and emotional speaker and relished an opportunity to pontificate. His wit and emotions were irrepressible.
A graduate of Phillips High School in Birmingham, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Auburn University in 1959 and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He received his law degree from The University of Alabama Law School in 1962. His law school honors included membership in the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society, the Alabama Law Review, and serving as president of the Sigma Delta Kappa Law Fraternity. His zeal for Auburn football is legendary.
Judge Crowder is survived by his wife of 34 years, five children, and four grandchildren. He was a member of the Alabama State Bar, Birmingham Bar Association, and the American Association for Justice. He was a longtime member of Canterbury United Methodist Church and was a past Potentate of Zamora Shrine Temple in Birmingham.
The Charles R. Crowder Memorial Fellowship has been established in his honor at the Birmingham Bar Foundation to promote the development of qualified college students in philanthropy and advocacy.