Reception honoring retiring probate judge is Thursday

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Margaret Deadwyler is retiring as Jackson County Probate Judge.

By KATIE JUSTICE, kjustice@clickthepaper.com

For almost three decades, Margaret Deadwyler has called the Jackson County Courthouse — both old and new — her home away from home.

In fact, when she retires at the end of the year, she will be just shy of having worked for the county for exactly 29 years.

“Really, it’s been amazing how fast these years have past, especially this last one, and I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends being here. God has been good to me,” said Deadwyler, of her career with the county.

Starting as a clerk in the office of the probate judge in 1984, Deadwyler assumed the role of judge herself when J.T. Wilkes retired in 1992.

“When my judge retired, I said you can’t do that to me; I’m too old to go out and compete for a secretary’s job with the younger generation, so then he said you need to run for this job,” said Deadwyler. “It scared me to death, but I did.

“God’s been good to me, and the people of Jackson County have been wonderful to give me five terms in office,” said Deadwyler.

In her role as probate judge, Deadwyler says she never knows what she’s going to be handling on a day-to-day basis, although she admits that she spends most of her time working on applications for gun licenses and marriage licenses.

Recent laws have made applying for gun licenses a more detailed process, which Deadwyler says takes more time than before.

And while marriage licenses consume a majority of her time, she says she doesn’t mind.

“My favorite thing to do is the marriages,” said Deadwyler, who says her office keeps a scrapbook of the weddings. “It’s over 1,500 [weddings] I’ve done in the 20 years that I’ve been here.”

Deadwyler has lived in the area her whole life.

“I still live on the same road I was born on, Hog Mountain Road. I was born two miles down the road from where I live now,” said Deadwyler, who said she has a large number of relatives in the area.

“I used to joke and say that’s how I keep getting re-elected, all my kin folk.”

Deadwyler says she doesn’t have many plans for her retirement, other than driving to Winterville once a week to keep her 1-year-old grandson.

“I have found that if I make plans, they change, so I don’t make specific plans anymore,” said Deadwyler.

She will be succeeded by Probate Judge-elect Sherry Moore in 2013.

“I think she’s going to do a great job. She’s already familiar with the court process because she has worked Clarke County for years, so I think she’ll be fine and adapt quickly and quite well,” said Deadwyler.

A retirement reception is being held for Deadwyler from 4-6 p.m. today in the jury assembly room of the Jackson County Courthouse.