PICAYUNE, Miss. – Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald IV, a respected judge and long-serving prosecutor in south-central Mississippi, has passed away at the age of 75. McDonald, who sat on a circuit court and was known for his fairness and adherence to the law, died on Monday at Forrest General Hospital after battling an undisclosed illness.
McDonald, commonly referred to as “Buddy,” had been described by his colleague, Judge Prentiss Harrell, as a compassionate and fair judge who upheld the law firmly. His dedication and commitment to justice will be sorely missed, according to Harrell.
McDonald was appointed to his position in January 2016 to help manage the caseload of the 15th District Circuit, covering several counties in Mississippi. However, on December 19, the Mississippi Supreme Court was informed that McDonald would be unable to fulfill his duties indefinitely due to his health. William E. Andrews III was subsequently appointed to fill the vacant seat.
Before his time as a judge, McDonald served as the district attorney and assistant district attorney for the 15th district. He also held other public service positions, including prosecuting attorney for Pearl River County and municipal judge and city attorney in Picayune.
Aside from his legal career, McDonald was known for his involvement in civic, church, and charitable activities, particularly his support for underprivileged children. Those close to him praised his integrity, dedication, and brilliant legal mind.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for Friday at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picayune.
Surviving McDonald are his wife, Suzy Stockstill McDonald, four children, and 13 grandchildren.