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The Redbud City: Tributes extended to judges in 50th anniversary

Clyde Wooldridge
Contributing writer
These three district judges spanned almost 50 years in service for Pottawatomie County. (l-r) J. Knox Byrum, Donald Powers, and Lloyd Henry.

“He’s an awful good judge in my opinion,” retired District Judge J. Knox Byrum said of retired District Judge Donald Powers of Chandler, to a crowd that overflowed Courtroom No. 1 at the Pottawatomie County courthouse on Sunday, November 17, 1985.

“I am Judge Powers’ successor, but I do not presume to have taken his place. It will be a long time before I can take his place,” District Judge Milton Craig said.

Judge Craig thought of the late District Judge Lloyd Henry as the epitome of a ‘citizen patriot, husband, father, lawyer, judge, and mostly as friend. Thank you, Lloyd,” he said.

Henry Memorial Courtroom was dedicated, portraits of Judge Powers and Judge Henry were unveiled, as was a bronze bust of Judge Henry, and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the courthouse was observed at the event.

“My father was not a great man, but he was a good man,” State Representative Robert Henry said. “It’s a great honor that you do him.”

“I enjoyed tremendously the 28 years in this courthouse,” Judge Powers stated. He said he enjoyed the relationships here very much but now enjoyed “my golfing buddies.”

An 87 percent increase in civil cases in Pottawatomie County district court from 1961-84 was why a fourth courtroom was needed, District Judge Glenn Dale Carter said in tracing the background of the new courtroom dedicated to Judge Henry’s memory.

Some 150 persons filled all seats in main Courtroom No. 1, lined walls and overflowed into the halls as Judge Carter convened court, then recessed it for the afternoon program. Judge Byrum, district judge for 28 years and 11 months, longer than any other in county history, then returned to the bench as moderator.

Judge Powers retired in January of 1983 at the end of 28 years’ service and was district judge for the second longest period in county history. Judge Henry died unexpectedly on May 19, 1984, during his 13th year as district judge.

Mrs. Henry removed the black veil from Judge Henry’s bust, sculpted by Bob Crouch of Tecumseh, and presented by the Chamber of Commerce. Judge Henry’s portrait was unveiled by his sons, Robert and Wayne, and daughter, Lisa.

(These stories appear in volume four of history of Shawnee, entitled “REDBUD CITY, (1970-1989).” The first three volumes, through 1969, are now available for purchase. They can be purchased for $30 each. Normally, they are available at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society, but it is temporarily closed for moving to the new facility. If you wish to purchase copies, call me at (918) 470-3728, and I will arrange to get you copies. Volume four should be available before Christmas.)