POINT PLEASANT — The third floor of the Mason County Courthouse is not a place most people want to have to visit but when they do, a familiar and friendly face has greeted them since 1990.
Jo Turley of Letart, a deputy clerk in the Mason County Circuit Clerk’s office who specializes in handling criminal cases, providing guidance to visitors and lending an ear to those who just want to vent, retired after 23 years on Thursday.
Turley’s colleagues in the circuit clerk’s office and Circuit Clerk Bill Withers hosted a retirement send-off for her at the courthouse this week. Turley joked she wasn’t going to Disney World but she was looking forward to spring, gardening, being active in the Oak Grove United Methodist Church, keeping her craft booth at the Mason Jar stocked and doing some home renovations for her son in her immediate future - a future which now doesn’t include an alarm clock. However, Turley said she plans on staying busy by just enjoying life. She said she felt grateful she still had a “spring in her step” as she enters this new chapter.
As for the chapter that ended yesterday, Turley said working in the circuit court clerk’s office has certainly kept life’s problems in perspective when dealing with folks who are they themselves, or have family members, facing a criminal proceeding.
“You try to be compassionate and understanding of their situation,” Turley said about those who are having a difficult time.
One of the rewarding parts of any job is actually being able to help people and working in circuit court is no different, though some days on the third floor are hectic and a lot of help is needed. One of the things Turley was taking with her as she cleaned out her desk was a card from someone who simple wrote to say “thank you” for her assistance - she said those random “thank you’s” that showed up over the years were nice to receive.
When asked if he’ll miss Turley’s presence, Withers said, “Oh Lord, yes!”
Withers explained he and his staff probably spend more time with each other than they do with their own families. For this reason, the circuit clerk’s staff has become a type of family.
“I’ll miss them,” Turley said as her last day as deputy clerk came to a close but her first day of the rest of her life was on the horizon.
Godspeed, Legal Guru, Godspeed.