Honoring contribution to the Island

SPI dedicates courtroom to longest serving judge

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — It was a cause for celebration that began with a ceremony and finished with the cutting of a two-tiered cake decorated with the scale of justice and a chocolate gavel.

The City of South Padre Island held a dedication ceremony yesterday evening in honor of the late David K. Colwell, the city’s longest serving judge.

The Island’s Municipal Court was dedicated to Colwell in honor of his dedication and contribution to the city.

About 50 people attended the ceremony to celebrate the momentous occasion.

“This means a lot to our family, and David would be incredibly honored and proud of this dedication,” David’s wife Sandy said during the ceremony. “David was doubly blessed. First, he had a job he absolutely loved, and second, he was absolutely great at doing it.”

Colwell was appointed Municipal Court Judge of the Island in 1991 and retired in October of 2014.

City council members alongside David K. Colwell’s family pose near a plaque and memorabilia inside City Hall.
Close to 50 people gathered yesterday to honor and celebrate the late judge David K. Colwell.
The City of South Padre Island held an unveiling and dedication ceremony yesterday in honor the city’s longest serving judge, David K. Colwell.

City representatives describe Colwell as being an instrumental part of the Island for more than 23 years.

“A municipal judge has great power, which brings great responsibility that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system,” South Padre Island Mayor Patrick McNulty said during the ceremony. “The courtroom sees many faces from different places. I praise the judge and the courtroom staff for their hard work and their dedication to serving the community of South Padre Island.”

As the Island’s longest serving judge, Colwell heard stories from thousands of spring breakers, which led him to write his self-published book titled, “Spring Break: A Judge’s View from the Bench.”

City Council Member Joe Ricco brought the dedication idea to the council during a city meeting held back in May of this year.

South Padre Island Judge Ed Cyganiewicz reminisced on his memories of Colwell, whom he first met in 1982 after moving to the Island.

“I had the pleasure of serving as an alderman or city council member and mayor when he was appointed and reappointed,” Cyganiewicz said during the meeting held in May. “We had some previous judges that were good judges, but I think David brought some stability that I have aspirations of continuing from when I started five years ago.”

Cyganiewicz said he hopes he can fill Colwell’s shoes and continue to bring stability to the court.

“I think it’s a great idea to dedicate a courtroom to him, and it’ll be an honor for me to continue to preside in that courtroom,” Cyganiewicz said. “It’s well-deserved for a great man and a great judge.”