OBITUARY

The Honorable Walter N. Colbath Jr.

August 21, 1934May 4, 2021
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The Honorable Walter N. Colbath, Jr., 86, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida passed away on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. He was born on August 21, 1934 to Walter N. Colbath, Sr. and Vesta Swenson Colbath in Evanston, Illinois. Judge Colbath attended Broad Ripple High School and graduated from Indiana University where he played football and golf. He received his law degree from the University of Miami in 1965, after moving to Florida in 1959. Judge Colbath served in the Army and the Marine Corp retiring as a Major.

Judge Colbath was passionate about public service and politics, beginning his legal career as the first Public Defender of the Fifteenth Circuit in 1966. He left the Public Defender’s office in 1972, and later successfully ran for Councilman, then Mayor of the Village of North Palm Beach.

In 1984, Governor Bob Graham appointed Judge Colbath to the Circuit Court Bench. During his judicial career, he presided over Civil, Criminal and Family Divisions. He served as Chief Judge from 1997 to 2001, and led the Circuit in many outstanding achievements. After his retirement, he continued to serve the legal community as a successful Circuit Civil Mediator.

Judge Walter N. Colbath, Jr. was a gentle giant and was highly respected in the legal community. He was also a dedicated family man and raised three children, Walter N. Colbath, III; Jeffrey Colbath; and Stephanie Colbath. Judge Colbath was predeceased by Judy, his beloved wife of 38 years and his oldest son Walter N. Colbath, III. He is survived by his son Judge Jeffrey Colbath (retired); his daughter Stephanie Colbath; and daughter-in-law, Kristin Colbath. He is also survived by his five grandchildren, Walter Newall Colbath IV, Cameron Colbath, Kelly Colbath, Naval Airman Riley Colbath and Jason Colbath.

There will be a memorial service at Howard-Quattlebaum Funeral and Event Center on Friday, May 14, 2021 at 4:30 PM, 754 US Highway 1, North Palm Beach, FL, 33408. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer’s Community Care, Hospice of Palm Beach County or charity of choice.

  • FAMILY

  • Judge Colbath was predeceased by Judy, his beloved wife of 38 years and his oldest son Walter N. Colbath, III. He is survived by his son Judge Jeffrey Colbath (retired); his daughter Stephanie Colbath; and daughter-in-law, Kristin Colbath. He is also survived by his five grandchildren, Walter Newall Colbath IV, Cameron Colbath, Kelly Colbath, Naval Airman Riley Colbath and Jason Colbath.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Friday, May 14, 2021

Memories

The Honorable Walter N. Colbath Jr.

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Vince Mulhall

May 17, 2021

Dear Stephanie:

It's been "some time" since we spent a few days at a TEC retreat. I hope & pray you are well.

I knew your dad (& mom) thru Cursillo for many years..... good people. doing good things.

I hope your life is strong (I'm doing well, 36+ years by God's grace).

These are difficult times and I will keep you in my prayers, I promise.

With love,
Vince Mulhall

Julia Connolly

May 14, 2021

Jeff, you had such kind words for my family when I lost my dad (Billy Ray). I want to return those to you now. Your dad was such a titan with a gentle soul who leaves an impressive legacy, both in the legal world and with his beautiful family. I have a picture somewhere, which I will track down and send to you. It's a black & white photo from a classic '60s dinner party, Hawaiian themed, back when everyone dressed for the occasion. I'm sure it will make you smile. May the beautiful memories linger the longest.
Stephanie, too many years have passed since we were kids. I'd love to catch up. Sending love and hugs. So sorry for your loss
Julie

Daniel Rosenbaum

May 13, 2021

I had the privilege of knowing Judge Colbath for several decades as a judge, as a mediator and as a friend who imparted wisdom, humor, reason and respect for everyone. He had an incredible heart and his thoughtfulness was extraordinary. Judge Colbath was always friendly, genuine, caring and pragmatic. As a judge he made difficult decisions with compassion and fairness in a way that everyone involved understood how much he truly cared that he did the right thing. Judge Colbath’s mediation skills were amazing. All the lawyers and litigants liked him so much that they wanted to settle cases in good part to make him happy. You could not be in the room with the Judge and not have the highest regard for his graceful style, his wit, his understanding and his pragmatism. I always looked forward to seeing Judge Colbath and considered him to be exceptionally talented in so many ways. He was always a true gentleman and being with him was always a positive experience. For my goodbye I will say that I will never forget you Judge, and will always remember the love and caring that you showed in everything you did. Rest In Eternal Peace Judge.

Don Curley

May 12, 2021

Wally was my brother in law and one my best friends for forty plus years! What a guy - we played golf everywhere (Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Harbor Town, Seminole and PGA to name a few), we played in at least twelve Member Guests together, and traveled to several Ryder Cups . We traveled to Italy for a month, toured the Baltic Sea for eleven days, went to England and spent days enjoying the beauty of Greenbrier. He loved being a judge and especially being the Chief Judge of Palm Beach County. He enjoyed his years as a board member of PGA of America. Wally loved all kinds of people, enjoyed a glass of wine and loved fine foods. He was a wonderful husband father and friend. Go in peace my friend.

J.Reeve Bright

May 12, 2021

Miss you Wally. Thank you for your friendship and kindness over the years. You were a good , patient and understanding leader. Thank You, Reeve

Sue Curley

May 12, 2021

Jeffrey & Steph,

Your father, our uncle, a friend to all who knew him.
How special it was that my favorite uncle preformed my wedding ceremony.

See you Friday.
Sue

Judy Curley

May 11, 2021

Last, but certainly not the least.

Judy Curley

May 11, 2021

Well, sorry, to do this, but now I am determined for everyone to see the only pictures I have of Uncle Wally and apparently, I can only upload one at a time! Here's another one. Enjoy the beautiful smile...

Esse Asker

May 11, 2021

Dear Mr. Colbath,
You sure had a wonderful life. Full of accomplishments, unbelievable career and family. I so miss your son Walter. Your son Walter was our troop master and I was the advancement coordinator. We had some great times. When you see Walter please give him my best and tell him I miss him so much. God Bless You & Your Family.

Judy Curley

May 11, 2021

For some reason, the other three photos I uploaded, didn't get posted so here they are!

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