Photography

Wade Joseph Dahood

December 31, 1927 ~ April 18, 2022 (age 94)

Obituary

WADE J. DAHOOD

Wade J. Dahood passed away on April 18, 2022 in St. James Hospital in Butte, Montana.

Wade was born on December 31, 1927, to Solomon and Lenda Dahood. He was raised and educated in Anaconda. After graduating from Anaconda High School, Wade attended the University of Montana and graduated from the University of Montana Law School in 1951. As part of his ROTC commitment, Wade joined the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), serving as an appellate attorney stationed at the Pentagon during the Korean Conflict. This service included his first appearance before the United States Supreme Court.

After completing his service to his country, Wade returned to Anaconda and entered into the practice of law with John Benjamin Carter Knight (JBC Knight) as the firm of Knight and Dahood. After JBC Knight died in 1967, Wade changed the focus of the practice from insurance defense to plaintiff-oriented litigation.  Wade tenaciously advocated for the interests of those injured by negligence or at their place of work. His tireless work on behalf of injured parties changed Montana law to the benefit of all persons injured at the hands of others or while at work. In addition, Wade was a consummate small-town lawyer providing full service to his clients, including personal injury, worker’s compensation, criminal defense, estate practice, dissolution, condemnation, corporate law and banking. The Knight and Dahood Law Firm continues today. Wade continued to actively practice law with the help of his son, attorney Jeff Dahood and his assistant and secretary, Ann Wareham until 2021.

Wade was instrumental in the formation of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association (MTLA). He served as President of the MTLA and was a Director Emeritus until his passing. Wade was instrumental in the establishment of the Montana Medical Legal Malpractice Board which allows for pre-litigation review of medical malpractice cases by a panel of physicians and attorneys. As a true trial advocate, Wade often declared that it might not have been his greatest accomplishment, but it has continued as a viable service to Montanans to this day. Wade was a proud and dedicated member of the State Bar of Montana for over seventy years. He was licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all lower state and federal courts. He received countless awards for excellence over his many years of practice.

Wade also served many years on the Board of Directors for Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in Anaconda, Montana.

Wade did believe that his greatest accomplishment was his service as an elected delegate to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention. He served as the Chairman of the Bill of Rights Committee. As Chairman, Wade clearly and concisely stated the need for strong protections of citizens’ rights, answering all questions posed and drafting clear and concise constitutional language. As part of the new Montana Bill of Rights, the convention adopted provisions allowing for citizens to sue the State for injuries suffered by the State’s negligence, eliminating sovereign immunity, providing for third party negligence suits for workers injuries and the provision of attorney fees for successful landowners in condemnation actions.

Believing that every citizen had the right to know the functions of state government through open records and public participation, Wade was very proud of his work in drafting and including in the new 1972 Constitution, the Right to Know, the Right to Privacy, and the Right to Participate in Government. Wade’s words on these provisions as set forth in the official Transcripts are regularly cited by the Montana Supreme Court in their opinions on these and other issues of citizens’ rights under Montana law. The 1972 Montana Constitution will celebrate its 50th year in June 2022. It is generally accepted as one of the finest modern state Constitutions in the United States.

During his long career, Wade was renowned throughout the various Montana Courts for his fabulous oratory, his tailored Italian Brioni suits, crisp white silk shirts with WJD embroidered on the cuff and his famous array of gold cufflinks. With his impeccable preparation, knowledge of the law and booming voice, Wade enthralled jurors and judges alike in every courtroom he entered.

Wade’s life was dominated by his love for the law, which he often referred to as his “jealous mistress.” He was an icon in Montana law for his tireless efforts on behalf of the injured plaintiff. Despite his failing health Wade maintained his love of the law, having his son Jeff provide him with a brief case and a statement of damages to work on in the hospital. Wade’s faith in hard work and enthusiasm for progressing the law never faltered.

Always recognized by his blue Lincoln Continental, Wade was known as both as a sports fanatic and gambler. He rarely missed the opportunity to golf at the Anaconda Country Club and Fairmont Hot Springs. 

Wade was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Tom, and sister Margaret.

Wade is survived by his wife Nancy; son, Jeff and his wife Melissa, grandsons, Wade and Brett, of Anaconda; his daughter Linda Downey of Dallas Texas and grandsons, Chad (Holly) and Steven (Dana), daughter Laurice Johnson and husband Jim also of Dallas, Texas, grandsons Matt (Sarah) and Nick (Elizabeth); daughter Kathy Dahood and husband Vincent Colucci of Missoula MT and son Mitch Dahood and his wife, Christina, of Los Angeles, California and numerous extended family and friends.

Wade was one of a kind and will be sorely missed by his family and many friends. He was a true American patriot and took great pride in his membership in the American Legion and his service in the U.S. Army. One of his most cherished sayings was:

                    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though

                     checkered by failure. . . than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy

                     nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor

                     defeat.”

                                                Theodore Roosevelt

Wade dared mighty things; he had glorious triumphs; he had failures; but he had a long, productive and enjoyable life and he did it HIS WAY. In that, he was truly victorious, and we can all be grateful for his long life in service of his fellow man through the law.

Services are pending and will be announced at a later time. Donations can be made to the Anaconda American Legion Post #21, the Anaconda Catholic Community, or the charity of donor’s choice.   

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