By KATIE JUSTICE, firstname.lastname@example.org
When Margaret Deadwyler decided to end her 20-year tenure as probate judge in Jackson County, filling her shoes would be a tough job for anyone. However, new probate judge Sherry Moore has slid into the role poised and ready to go.
Moore was elected as probate judge in the August primary runoff, and took office with the new year. Despite a chaotic first few weeks, experience and a community orientation are what drive Moore forward.
Moore has worked with the law for more 20 years, first beginning work at a legal office in high school.
“I was actually part of the [Vocational Office Training Program] when I was in high school, and my teacher placed me in a law office when I was a senior,” said Moore. “I really credit that teacher with really putting me on this path because I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do really.”
Before being elected as Jackson County Probate Judge, Moore served as the chief clerk in the Clarke County Probate Court for a decade under Probate Judge Susan Tate.
“I couldn’t imagine walking into this job not ever having worked in a probate court,” said Moore. “The experience I gained, those 10 years in Athens have been invaluable. Judge Tate was very wise and very thoughtful and took her position seriously, so I had that as an example all these years.”
Moore’s experience in probate court came in handy when she took office. Jackson County is experiencing a sharp increase in weapons carry permit applications, which are handled by the probate court.
“It didn’t faze me; I knew at the end of December, after the event in Connecticut, that gun licenses were going to be a big issue,” said Moore. “I didn’t realize that the numbers were going to be quite as high as they have been. There wasn’t any way to anticipate that.”
However, the increase in applications for weapons carry permits will die down, and the probate court will return to its normal work flow.
“You deal with not only estates, which always involve families, but also the mental health situations and there are always going to be some that are really heart-wrenching and tough,” said Moore.
Moore admits that she thinks her favorite thing to deal with will be weddings.
“I think that I’m going to like that because it’s a really happy occasion. Of course when issuing the marriage licenses, the couple comes in and they’re hopeful and happy and in love, and it’s always fun to see them so excited. So it was neat to be able to do a ceremony,” Moore said of performing her first wedding.
Moore also enjoys the sense of community she has gained from working where she lives.
“I really enjoyed serving the people, and helping the public, and wanted to be able to do that in the county that I lived in,” said Moore, of working previously in Clarke County.
Moore lives in Jefferson with her husband and son, who is a 10th grader at Jefferson High School. She also has a married daughter who lives in Oconee County with her family.