Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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December 30, 2012

Jerry D. Ray: Mineral Wells Index's 2012 Man of the Year

Retiring district judge named man of the year for 20 years of service at seat of justice

(Continued)

Ray went above and beyond the requirements of a district judge on a daily basis, she said, and inspired those around him to work together for the good of the county.

“Judge Ray always looked for solutions to problems rather than simply act as the umpire of a fight,” Glover said. “His demeanor in court as a trial judge was always characterized by his patience with counsel and unrepresented litigants and his determination that all parties should have their opportunity to state their case before him.”

When he had to make difficult decisions, Glover said Ray never took the easy way out.

“He would never sidestep or evade a difficult point,” she said. “His demand of perfection has sharpened our work ethic and his ‘lectures’ to courthouse staff have certainly broadened our horizons.”

As with others who knew him best, Glover said the impression Ray left in the county will not quickly fade.

“It has been an honor to work alongside Judge Ray and he has left a legacy behind which will remain with us for years to come.”

Commitment

Ray’s public service extended further than merely presiding over felony trials in his district.

As an instrumental figure in establishing and nurturing a Court Appointed Special Advocates program in Palo Pinto County, Ray made sure the youngest victims of violence and neglect had a voice.

CASA volunteers work with children in abuse cases and act as Ray’s eyes and ears outside of the courtroom. The advocates, appointed by Ray to the CASA program, report to him throughout the trial and undergo training to handle the delicate circumstances of such cases.

The group recently named an award in honor of Ray and presented it to CASA volunteer Barbara Stagner last month.

In introducing the retiring judge at the awards ceremony, advocate Carolyn Pierel said Ray has been a major influence in the county since he first practiced law locally 50 years ago.

In 1992, after some coaxing by community leaders and friends, Ray entered a succesful campaign to become district attorney, Pierel added.

Since then, his commitment to justice resulted in an impressive conviction rate as DA, she said.

“It wasn’t good to be a criminal in Palo Pinto County,” she explained.

Describing Ray as “instrumental in bringing CASA to Palo Pinto County,” Pierel said she and the other local advocates are among the many locals who will remember Ray’s service fondly.

“He will be missed after his retirement,” she concluded.

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