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Prominent judge succumbs to cancer

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Distinguished Judge Tristram Tupper Hyde IV, of Litwalton, Virginia, died at home April 18, 2016, after a long and courageous battle with brain cancer. Tris was born February 25, 1941 in Richmond, VA. He graduated from Douglas Freeman High School in Richmond in 1959 and Hampden-Sydney College in 1962. He played football for both schools and at Hampden-Sydney was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. After college, Tris was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps and enrolled in the University of Virginia School of Law, graduating in 1965.

Colonel Hyde’s exemplary career in the Marine Corps spanned 32 years. After graduating with honors from The Basic School in Quantico, VA, he was assigned on active duty to the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island and the Second Marine Aircraft Wing in Cherry Point, N.C. He then served as Chief Trial Counsel for the 3rd Marine Division in Northern I Corps, Republic of Vietnam, until his release from active duty in June 1968. After his release, he served as a reservist and Executive Officer in the First 105 Howitzer Battery in Richmond, VA. He completed the Reserve Officer Amphibious Intelligence Course and was assigned successive positions as an intelligence officer in Norfolk, VA at the U.S. Commander in Chief, Atlantic (USCINCLANT). His numerous decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V and Gold Star, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. A full colonel at retirement in 1991, he remained a Marine in heart and spirit, often leading singing of the Marine Corps hymn at the annual Northern Neck USMC Birthday Dinner.

In addition to his military service, Judge Hyde practiced law in Richmond, Fredericksburg, and the

Northern Neck. In 1971, he moved to Fleeton, VA, where he could practice law in a rural setting, fish, and hunt on the Chesapeake Bay. He founded the law firm Hyde and Haynie with Warren Haynie in Heathsville, later adding Mervin Withers to the firm. Judge Hyde loved being a country lawyer and being occasionally paid with farm produce, crabs or oysters. During his distinguished career, he served as the president of the Northern Neck Bar Association (1984) and as Judge for the General District Court of Northumberland, Lancaster, Essex, Richmond, and Westmoreland (1983-2003). After retirement, Judge Hyde served until last year as a Virginia substitute judge and a judge at Rappahannock General Hospital.

Tris was a true community leader in the Northern Neck. While living in Northumberland County, he was a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Heathsville and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Fleeton, where he served on the Vestry and sang in the choir. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, he founded the first Little League football team, the Fleeton Eagles; served as the secretary and president of the Northern Neck Football League; and volunteered as an assistant coach of the Northumberland High School football team, including a state championship team. Tris was also a Boy Scout leader, serving as a Webelo den leader and assistant scoutmaster for Troop 202 in Reedville and Northern Neck District Chairman. In 1986, he was awarded the Silver Beaver award, Scouting’s highest award for contributions of an adult Scout. He was also a founding member of the Smith Point Sea Rescue. While living in Lancaster County, he continued his work with Boy Scouts and sang in the choir as a member of Grace Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal Church.

A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many, Tris will be remembered for his love of flying, the Marines, and all things outdoors; his extremely outgoing personality; his sense of humor; and his masterful storytelling and guitar, singing, and harmonica playing. He duck-hunted on both sides of the bay and on trips to nearby states, Colorado, and Canada. His favorite spot, however, was Nandua Creek on the Eastern Shore, where he co-founded “The Dog House” hunting lodge, which was the scene of many a tall tale as well as culinary, libation, folksong, fishing, oystering, and hunting fortunes and misfortunes.

Hyde is survived by his wife, Joanna Karen Hyde; son Thomas Tilden Hyde and daughter Elizabeth Yoer Hyde; sons from his first marriage, Tristram Tupper Hyde, V (Laura) of Severna Park, MD and William Woodhouse Hyde (Celeste) of Seattle, WA; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his father, Tristram Tupper Hyde, III; his mother, Mildred Williams Hyde; his brother, James Taylor Hyde; and his first wife, Margaret Shinnick Federhart.