William Byrd Traxler was born on July 10, 1912 in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of David Byrd Traxler and Mary Gatling Traxler. He attended The Citadel, The University of Texas and George Washington University School of Law, receiving his J.D. degree in 1940.
During World War II, he entered service as an enlisted man and was transferred to Officers Training School to receive his commission, attaining the rank of Captain. During service he had important duties with the American Army of Occupation in Germany where he participated in the restoration of the judicial system, which had been plagued by years of Nazi tyranny, and assisted in reopening German civil and criminal courts after the war.
After discharge, he returned to Greenville to begin the practice of law with the firm of Hinson, Traxler & Hamer (1950–1958), and Rainey, Fant, Traxler & Horton (1958–1960) and thereafter, as a sole practitioner. His integrity, learning and unfailing good humor soon made him a popular, sought after attorney and a highly respected adversary, whose sage, practical advice helped so many clients.
Bettie (Bettie London Traxler), his devoted and talented wife of some 50 years, was a wonderful helpmate and companion and supported his devotion to his profession, which was clearly evidenced by the fact that they had 3 children (2 boys and a girl) who became lawyers. These are William Byrd Traxler, Jr., Thomas Wooten Traxler and Lucy Traxler (Mrs. Thomas F.) McDow. What greater tribute could a lawyer have than for all of his children to follow in his footsteps as competent and respected members of the Bar. It is significant that William Byrd Traxler, Jr. is serving as a U.S. District Judge and has been nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
During his career, he actively participated in Bar activities which included the Greenville County Bar Association (President 1976), the South Carolina Bar and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was a Fellow of the South Carolina Bar Foundation. Also, he was active in public service including the Phyllis Wheatley Association and the Board of Health for the City of Greenville. He was a devoted and active member of Christ Church Episcopal.
The hallmark of William Byrd Traxler was his smile and happy demeanor. It is my privilege to present this memorial to William Byrd Traxler to be included in this ceremony for Memory Hold the Door.