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Judge J. Warren Bettis

June 25, 2011
Salem News

Judge J. Warren Bettis

SALEM - Judge J. Warren Bettis (Ret.) 86, of Salem, died at 10:47 a.m. Thursday at Salem Community Hospital.

He was born on Oct. 24, 1924 in Salineville, Ohio to the late John Wesley and Lucille (Allmon) Bettis.

Warren grew up in Salineville with his two brothers and as the eldest always tried to look out for them. He also lived with his aunts and uncles Allmon and Burgett nearby on their farms. He was a 1942 graduate of Southern Local High School.

He enlisted in the US Marine Corp. in 1943 and spent boot camp in San Diego, California. His advanced individual training was spent on Big Isle, Hawaii as an infantry man. After completing his training, he was assigned to the 5th Marine Division, 26th Regiment. His regiment landed on Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945 and he was shot in the face on March 1, 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he received. He is a member of the Salineville American Legion.

Warren married his beautiful bride, Barbara June Dorrance, on Nov. 28, 1946.

He graduated from Xavier University in 1947 with a B.S. degree in business administration. In 1948, he entered Salmon P. Chase College of Law in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he graduated in 1951 with a juris doctor (J.D.) degree. Later that same year, he passed the Ohio Bar Exam.

While attending law school, he worked as an agent for the IRS from 1948 to 1951. He lived in Cincinnati with his wife Barbara and his son James was born there in 1952.

After finishing his schooling, Warren returned to Salineville to start a law practice. He and his young family lived in Salineville with his mother-in-law Olive who gave him the seed money to launch his practice. He operated his private practice from 1951 to 1971 and had offices in Salineville, Salem and Wellsville.

Warren was first elected Washington Township clerk. He was solicitor for the villages of Salineville and Hanoverton. He also served in the Ohio Legislature in 1960 through 1962 as a state representative from Columbiana County. In 1951, he served as the village solicitor for Salineville and in 1959 he served on the Columbiana County Board of Education. Warren served as a member of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission in the Gov. James Rhodes administration from 1963 to 1965. Warren was elected county prosecutor in 1965 and re-elected in 1968.

In 1970, he was elected Columbiana County Common Pleas Judge, was re-elected twice and he resigned in the fall of 1986. He then moved on to become Ohio Disciplinary Counsel by appointment of then Chief Justice Frank Celebreeze. Thereafter, he resumed his judicial duties and sat on the Ohio Court of Claims by assignment of the Ohio Supreme Court. He was asked back to his former courtroom in Lisbon and presided over his last trial - a murder case. Judge Bettis was honored one last time as honorary parade marshal of the 2011 Salem Memorial Day Parade.

Warren was a member of the Salem First Presbyterian Church and was baptized in the Presbyterian Church in Salineville. He was also an instructor of criminal law, evidence and trial procedure at Kent State University from 1976 to 1986.

In Warren's spare time, he and his wife enjoyed traveling in their RV to many locations - to Maine and New Hampshire for lobster; to Texas, South Dakota, Wisconsin and to Branson, which was a particular favorite. He was an avid card player and enjoyed a good game of euchre or bridge. He also loved playing baseball, tennis and for a while was an avid gardener. Warren was a good story teller and was dearly loved by his family and friends. Warren had a generous heart and served his career trying to help others.

Warren, a devoted husband, father and grandfather, was preceded in death five months ago by his wife Barbara on Jan. 24, 2011; his daughter, Barbara Joan Barto; and a brother, Robert Arnold Bettis.

He is survived by his children, James Dorrance Bettis and wife Anita of Houston (Bellaire) Texas and Janet Lynn Stathas and her husband John of Madison, Wisconsin.; a brother, Kenneth Eugene Bettis and his wife Kay of Lisbon; and his grandchildren, Jessica Doehling, Claire Stathas, Paul Bettis, Julia Stathas and Elizabeth Bettis.

The visitation for Warren will be observed on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Salem First Presbyterian Church and on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the church library. A celebration of life service will start at 1 p.m. at the church with the Rev. Thomas Allmon officiating. The burial will follow at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Salineville with full military honors accorded by the Salineville American Legion Honor Guard.

The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Salem First Presbyterian Church (the donor may choose what fund to place the contribution) 436 E. Second Street, Salem, Ohio 44460.

The arrangements were entrusted to the care of the Arbaugh-Pearce-Greenisen Funeral Home, Salem, Ohio (330-332-4401)


(Paid obituary)



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