Greenville native and Circuit Court Judge Charles Victor Pyle Jr., who oversaw a number of high-profile cases during his tenure, died Friday. He was 82.
Born Dec. 24, 1934, to parents C. Victor and Eugenia Smith Pyle, Pyle graduated from Greenville High School in 1953 and from the University of South Carolina in 1959, with a law degree to follow.
Pyle, like his father, became a lawyer, wherein 1976 he was elected to the judiciary, according to Pyle’s obituary.
Pyle served as chairman of the Young Lawyers Conference while a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, and as a judge of the Greenville Municipal Court from 1965 to 1968. He was one of five Traffic Court judges in the U.S. to receive an award from the American Bar Association.
The late judge would go on to serve three terms with the S.C. House of Representatives. In 1976, Pyle was elected judge of the Greenville County Court, where he served until 1979 when he was elected to the 13th Judicial Circuit.
There, Pyle presided over several notable cases, including a case in the early 1980s that made national news.
In 1983 in Anderson, Pyle sentenced three men to choose between surgical castration and 30 years in prison for the rape of a woman.
A New York Times article states, “The decision by Judge C. Victor Pyle Jr. in Circuit Court to stipulate surgical castration stunned courtroom observers here, including the county prosecutor, who said he thought Judge Pyle was only “kidding” when he told the prosecutor he was considering castration as an option.”
Once, Pyle presided over a case where a man brought a loaded pistol into a foreclosure hearing in Greenville County Court, threatening to kill anyone who tried to take his home, according to Greenville News archives.
Pyle ordered the man be taken to the state mental hospital in Columbia for observation, the article states.
Before retiring in 2000, Pyle received an award in 1986 for jail overcrowding measures. On March 7, 2014, he was honored by the Greenville County Bar Association with an oil portrait now hanging in the lobby of the Judicial Center.
“He was widely respected for his integrity and even-handed judicial temperament,” Pyle’s obit states. “During his tenure on the bench, he served as a mentor to young lawyers and jurists, and as a deeply loved colleague and friend to all who worked with him. Underneath his quiet and unassuming demeanor lived a man of extraordinary courage. While several high-profile cases demonstrated his willingness to do the right thing regardless of public opinion or outcry, it is his countless private acts of courage that will leave a lasting mark on the community.”
Off the bench, Pyle was a member of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church and the Greenville Rotary Club. In his spare time, he loved to spend time with his family and friends, cook, travel and work on crossword puzzles, according to his obituary.
Pyle was predeceased by his wife, Johanna Wright Pyle. He is survived by wife, Suzanne Reynolds Pyle, three children, five grandchildren, his sister, his niece and nephew and extended family members.
Pyle will be buried at Springwood Cemetery, and a memorial service led by the Revs. Dr. Robert Howell and Grover Putnam will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church. A reception at Sisk Hall will follow.