Tribute to jobs well done

Published 2:49 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

Retiring circuit court clerks Malcolm Booker Jr., Machelle J. Eppes and Sarah “Kate” Spry were the guests of honor at a luncheon Wednesday in which they were recognized by a rare assembly of active and retired circuit court judges, clerks from the surrounding area and practicing attorneys from Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties.

The event, which took place at Riverside Cafe in Farmville, was organized by a committee that included attorneys Terri Atkins Wilson, James Ghee, Vivian Seay Giles and John Marsden.

Ghee said the purpose of the event was “to show appreciation and love for the outstanding jobs these three clerks have performed over the years.”

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Booker has been the Buckingham Circuit Court clerk for 40 years after serving as the deputy clerk for five years.

Eppes served as the Prince Edward Circuit Court clerk for 13 years after serving as deputy clerk for 10 years in Prince Edward and chief deputy clerk for seven years in Lunenburg County.

Spry is in her fifth year as the Cumberland Circuit Court clerk after serving as chief deputy clerk and deputy clerk for a combined 15 years.

After lunch, each retiring clerk was presented with a plaque and given an opportunity to address those attending. Then some of those attending shared their appreciation for the service of the honorees.

“It was very successful,” Ghee said of the luncheon. “All of our expectations were met. There was great participation from the local bar and judiciary.”

Afterward, each retiring clerk gave testimony on what the event meant to them.

“It was a very special occasion for me because I was really honored by the number of circuit court judges, both active and retired, that were there,” Booker said. “I was really humbled by that.”

Ghee confirmed that the four sitting judges of the 10th Judicial Circuit of Virginia were all present, as well as five retired circuit court judges. He also noted that six of the eight circuit court clerks were present. All of the retiring clerks’ successors were on hand.

“And the attorneys that likewise turned out, that was special,” Booker said. After reflecting on the group attending as a whole, he added, “To get them all together in one location, I don’t think this is going to happen any time for the next couple decades. It’s just very rare.”

He noted his official retirement date is June 30.

Sharing her thoughts on the luncheon, Spry said, “I’m like Mr. Booker. It makes me feel very humble to be honored by the judges, the attorneys and the fellow clerks, because they’re a great group.”

Monday is her last official day as Cumberland Circuit Court clerk.

Eppes, who retired April 1, had the distinction of being the first African-American court clerk in Prince Edward. Like Booker and Spry, she was moved by Wednesday’s event.

“It made me feel great, honored, and I appreciate the bar association doing this for us and all the judges that were present — I thought that was just awesome,” she said. “And I have to give honor to God, because He’s the one that got me started. That’s how I finish, and that’s how I’m going to be, continuously. And I want to thank everybody.”