CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston lawyer William R. McDavid, a founding member of the law firm that became Bowles Rice and a leader of various community causes, died Wednesday. He was 73.McDavid was in Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston at his time of death.In 1989, McDavid was a senior member of the Charleston law firm Bowles McDavid Graff & Love when it joined a Martinsburg firm to create Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love. McDavid spent his entire career at Bowles Rice, from 1964 until he retired in 1998.The firm is now known simply as Bowles Rice LLP.
On Wednesday night, Bowles Rice's website was updated with McDavid's photo and a messaging reading, "Bowles Rice celebrates the life and mourns the passing of our dear friend and partner."Charlie Love, another founding member of Bowles Rice, described his friend as an "outstanding lawyer who practiced primarily in the business and banking fields."He and McDavid had been close since Love joined the law firm in 1969. They played golf together, joined each other at different events and their children and wives got along too, he said. Even though McDavid retired as a partner in 1998, he remained an "of counsel" to the firm until recent years.Tom Heywood, managing partner in Bowles Rice's Charleston office, joined Love and Love's wife, Sally, to visit with McDavid on New Year's Eve.During the visit, McDavid asked about the firm, Heywood said, and he "always took great interest in every lawyer in the firm. ... He always had a keen interest and enthusiasm in every lawyer's life."
Heywood also described McDavid as a "very self-effacing, very humble man" who was quiet about his philanthropy but very generous. In 1993, McDavid started a foundation after Huntington Bancshares Incorporated purchased his family bank, the National Bank of Commerce. The McDavid Foundation has raised money to benefit state children's charities.He also served as a trustee to the University of Charleston, serving as chairman of the board. He served on two presidential search committees at UC. Further, he was a trustee of Charleston Area Medical Center's Foundation board and a member of the steering committee to raise funds for the hospital's David Lee Cancer Center, which is to be built at the former Watt Powell Park on MacCorkle Avenue.He was an active member of the Business and Industrial Development Corporation and served the Salvation Army Boys Club and the Rotary Club of Charleston.Heywood said that McDavid had left the law firm, the firm's clients and his community each better than he found them."I think everyone would recall Bill as the ultimate gentleman," Heywood said.
McDavid is survived by his wife, Diana, two sons, one daughter and four grandchildren, among other family members.Service will be held 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Marks United Methodist Church with Rev. Monty Brown officiating. A reception will be held afterward from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Berry Hills Country Club.