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W. Joseph Isaacs 


COLUMBIA — William Joseph Isaacs, 64, passed away Friday, January 23, 2009. Joe was born in Nickelsville, Va., the son of the late F.A. and Rena Tyree Isaacs, but lived and worked most of his adult life in Columbia, S.C.

Mr. Isaacs was a graduate of the College of William and Mary and the University of South Carolina School of Law. Mr. Isaacs had a long and outstanding legal career. As chief of the Consumer Fraud and Anti-Trust Section of the attorney general’s office during the McLeod administration, as well as creator of its Child Support Division, he was a champion of the unrepresented. After leaving the attorney general’s office in 1983, he was in private practice for over twenty-five years and founded the firm of Isaacs and Alley. He earned the “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell in recognition of the highest legal ability and ethical standards. As a public and private lawyer, his integrity, fearlessness and common sense were unmatched in the legal profession.

Mr. Isaac’s interests were many. He was an eclectic collector, from cookbooks to political memorabilia. His Peace Corps experience in Turkey in the 1960s led to a lifelong love of international travel, especially in the Middle East. His knowledge and collection of the music of Appalachia were unparalleled and he took great pride in having come from the birthplace of the Carter family. He delighted in the nicknames he gave his friends and those names often became better known than their given names, as Chino and Gladys can attest. He was an occasional whitewater rafter, a fine cook, photographer and an avid reader of political biography and history. Among all the losses his death brings, his love of life and his irresistible sense of humor are two of the greatest.

Surviving are his sisters, Dorothy Isaacs Moore of Nickelsville, Va., Pauline Couch and June Holbrook, both of Kingsport, Tenn., and Judy Davis of Nickelsville, Va.; brothers, Fielding “Buddy” Isaacs of Nickelsville, Va., John Isaacs of California, and Richard Johnson of Mt. Carmel, Tenn.; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Lowell Isaacs.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 31, 2009, at 4:00 p.m. at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel. The family will receive friends from 2 - 4 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Palmetto Place Children’s Emergency Shelter, P.O. Box 3395, Columbia, SC 29230.

From fellow volunteers:

Those of his fellow Turkey-10 volunteers remember him as a serious but fun-loving guy who survived our travails with humor and grace. 

A note from his site-partner, Anne Walshe: “Joe and I were in Aslanbeyli, a village of 600 about 60 miles east of Kayseri.  I'm remembering going to Jerusalem with him for Christmas in 1966. We flew from Adana to Beirut and took a taxi for $5 through Damascus and Amman...Joe was grilled at the Syrian border about his religion...We had anticipated that because of his last name...and even though we had 'papers' from our embassy attesting to the fact that we were Christians, they detained him for an hour or more!”