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Remembering the judges

Having covered many news stories during my long career as a newspaper reporter, I remember fondly my working relationship and friendship with two fine public servants in McDuffie and Warren counties.

Death recently claimed the lives of both Mary Jane Locklear and Lucy Bryant.

Both ladies served their respective counties as elected officials - both holding judgeship over the probate courts.

Judge Locklear, who served as probate judge for 16 years in McDuffie County, was always nice to me. She always wore a friendly smile. And she was helpful whenever she could be.

She cared about the people of McDuffie County, and it showed by the way she treated them - in her courtroom or simply somewhere in the community.

Judge Locklear was a down-to-earth kind of person.

When she did anything, she always wanted to be right. The same was true of her rulings from the bench.

The same could easily be said of Judge Bryant.

She, too, strived to be right at all times, even if it meant delaying her ruling, so she could study case law a little longer.

I deeply admired both judges.

They both had a deep, personal conviction about what they did as public servants. And it was demonstrated every time they presided over a case. The same was true even when they had cases whereby persons previously had appeared before them.

Neither judge ever allowed a previous case against a person to interfere with their duty to enforce punishment in the case before them. Again, I admired that greatly in both Judge Locklear and Judge Bryant.

They performed their roles just as they vowed to do when they first were sworn into office. They both took those oaths seriously - just as every elected official needs to do.

At the same time both served in such a wonderful way as public servants, both of them also raised families. Judge Locklear and her husband raised three children, while Judge Bryant and her husband raised two children.

Both also were active in various segments of the community and in their churches.

Judge Locklear and Judge Bryant believed in community involvement and in their religious beliefs. They also knew how to separate the two when it came time to do so in their courtroom settings.

People like Judge Locklear and Judge Bryant are people I shall never forget. For they truly performed their jobs the way they should be performed - fairness being at the top of the list - always!

Personally, I shall never forget my many conversations with them. For they always treated me so professionally and nice - whether the conversation was by way of telephone or in person.

We shall miss both of them, greatly!

Web posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007

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