by Genevieve Postlethwait, via The Paducah Sun
Obituary • Posted November 16, 2016
Gault Devoted to Law, River Industry
PADUCAH, Ky. – The Paducah river industry has lost one of its most loyal, dedicated defenders: Edwin Spivey Gault.
Gault, 70, died at his Paducah home Oct. 30, leaving behind a legacy of love for the law, the rivers and the people who work them.
“I think law was his first love,” Paducah City Commissioner Carol Gault said of her late husband. “He loved what he did. He loved the river, and he loved the river people most of all. He felt like it was a family unto itself.”
Gault, known to most by his middle name, “Spivey,” grew up in the river town of Greenville, Mississippi. He practiced law there for almost 20 years before relocating to Paducah in 1990, following growth in the river industry. He made a name for himself representing inland river towing companies, other marine operations and their insurers. He joined law firm Whitlow, Roberts, Houston & Straub in 2013.
Spivey’s professional accolades are numerous. A graduate of Vanderbilt University in 1969 and the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1972, he carried an AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible rating an attorney can earn from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review ratings system.
He was named a Kentucky Super Lawyer by his peers in 2007 and held the distinction until his death. He was named Maritime Person of the Year by the Port of Paducah Propeller club in 2004 and was a Duke of Paducah and a Kentucky Colonel.
He loved his work, and it showed.
“He had this amazing ability to connect with all people, from all walks of life,” said Mark Whitlow, a former colleague of Spivey’s. “That was such an asset as a trial lawyer.”
When Whitlow retired, he remembers teasing Spivey, asking him when he’d join him in retirement. Spivey replied simply: “Never.”
“He said, ‘I’m doing exactly what I want to do,’ and that’s true,” Whitlow remembered. “He loved the law, and he truly loved life and embraced it.”
Just about the only thing Spivey loved as much as his work and the river was his family, especially his two sons – Edwin Spivey Gault Jr. of Jackson, Mississippi, and William Lowe Gault of Leland, Mississippi – and four grandchildren.
“He loved Christmas and he loved Halloween, and there was nothing better than going in a toy store with him when those kids were little and shopping for the holidays,” Carol Gault said. “He loved those kids. Sometimes he’d come across as very dry and reserved if you didn’t know him very well, but there was that playful, mischievous side to him, too.”
Spivey may be known for his devotion to the law and the river industry, but he was also a dedicated husband, father and friend, she said.
“He was loyal, he was loving, and he was funny,” she said. “If ever there was a problem in life, any adversity, he would always just deal with it head-on with a great sense of humor.”