By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Monday, Dec. 10, a retirement ceremony was held for Probate Judge Bobby Junkins at the Etowah County Courthouse. Attendees visited with Junkins, while enjoying photos from Junkins’ life and finger foods.
Junkins’ last day will be January 14, when his newly elected replacement Scott Hassell will officially take office. Junkins’ decision to retire led to three candidates vying for the open position.
Before becoming a judge, Junkins was a librarian at the Gadsden Public Library, where he eventually served as director. He also previously served in the Alabama House of Representatives. Junkins was first elected in 1988 after the previous judge Lee Wofford decided not to run for re-election. He has been in his position for 30 years.
Friends and co-workers shared memories with one another about Junkins. Some shared their sadness that Junkins was leaving his position.
“Etowah County will be at a great loss without Bobby Junkins’ service,” said Craig Ford, former state representative. “Not only is he one of my closest friends but he has been a mentor to me in both my political career and personal life. Bobby is a role model for all public servants and individuals to pattern their lives after. His legacy will live on and will impact Etowah County forever.”
During the retirement party, current library director Craig Scott and University of Alabama-Gadsden Center Director Dr. Skip Campbell surprised Junkins with a proclamation from the governor’s office.
The proclamation outlined Junkins’ long history of service, including his work at the Gadsden Public Library, his three terms in the Alabama House of Representatives, his work on numerous boards and his work with non-profit organizations.
“Judge Junkins has served as a passionate and steadfast advocate for the value of education and lifelong learning,” read Campbell from the proclamation. “Now, therefore, I, Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama do hereby commend Judge Bobby M. Junkins for his outstanding career accomplishments and for his many contributions to Etowah County and the state of Alabama.”
Judge Junkins and his wife Susie, have four children: Dr. Jason Junkins and his wife Angela, Annie Blair Junkins, Amy Ward and Michelle Atkins and nine grandchildren.
After the award was presented, Junkins took a few moments to appreciate the many people who contributed to his success.
“You can’t live without your family, and that’s what makes life so important,” said Junkins.
Junkins also thanked his employees for “running the office.”
“We could not live without them,” said Junkins. “Employees make it all possible.”
Junkins also reflected on his time in office, which included a move for the probate office.
“It’s been a wonderful 30 years,” said Junkins.
During his time in office, Junkins has handled hundreds of adoptions, something the judge truly enjoys.
Now that he has retired as a judge, Junkins has accepted work at the place he got his start. He will once again be working at the Gadsden Public Library.