Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

July 29, 2013

Fond farewell to retiring judge

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — A little cake, punch and a few friends were all part of an official reception Friday afternoon to say farewell to a Garvin County judge, at least for now.

Associate District Judge John Blake still has plenty more to do, although he’s not set to retire from the office until after his work day ends on Wednesday, July 31.

Blake announced this past spring he would retire from the post with a year remaining in his current term.

Even with his last day looming the judge says there’s still plenty to get done before he lays down the gavel for good.

“Things haven’t really slowed down,” Blake said about his work load since the announcement he was stepping down as judge.

“We’re getting there,” he said. “I feel comfortable that I’m leaving this office in good shape.”

Blake, who turns 69 years old this fall, worked nearly four decades in his Pauls Valley law practice before he was appointed to the associate district judge’s office back in 2004.

Instead of serving out the current term Blake has said he chose to step down early to get other attorneys involved in the process of naming a new judge.

Much like the Blake’s appointment nine years ago, the process of naming his replacement starts with a judicial committee made up of those in and out of the profession taking applications for the job.

After the committee narrows the search a total of three names are sent to the governor, who then appoints one of them as the next associate district judge here in Garvin County.

Blake himself expects a replacement to be named sometime this fall.

It also looks like the soon-to-be former judge has his early retirement schedule filled with things he didn’t think would be there.

“My plan was on Aug. 1 to get up like any other day, walk over to my studio, my art studio, and begin painting,” Blake said about his passion to do more painting during his retirement years.

“However, family is coming in that same day for a visit.”

Then comes another visit, complete with grandchildren, followed by a planned trip as Blake and his wife Susanne will go visit with another group of grandchildren.

“On Aug. 1 my retirement will officially begin,” Blake said.

“As far as the actual application of paint, we’ll see.”