Smile and more than a few memories as farewell party for Hon. David Reynolds was held at the Van Buren County Courthouse on Thursday.
Reynolds will officially retire Jan. 1 after 31 years of service on the bench. His judicial career began with an appointment as juvenile court judge by then-governor Bill Clinton in 1989. After a year in that position Reynolds ran for, and won office as, circuit court judge. At the end of this year he is retiring as district court judge.
There for the party were area legal professionals, including lawyers, members of law enforcement and those charged with administering and accounting the reams of paper which accompany legal system transactions.
Reynolds recalled the early days of his service when traveling from his base in Conway to the Clinton Courthouse meant a trip up a winding two-lane road. In those days, the trip took 15 minutes longer, or longer still if a camper or farm traffic started up the hill ahead of you.
Reynolds had a second chance to recall the drive after leaving the event at the Van Buren County courthouse in time to attend a farewell party for Court Reporter Debbie Whillock at the Faulkner County Courthouse. Whillock was Reynold’s “first hire” when he came to the bench, Reynolds said, and had been with him ever since.
Both recalled their early days together in juvenile court, including recalling wanting to take some of the those appearing before the court home with them.
“We’d have needed to build bigger houses if we’d stayed in juvenile court,” Whillock said.
Reynolds is recalled for work in building awareness of domestic violence, including court policies to combat the same. He played a major role in creating the Stop DV program in Faulkner County which provides legal support to domestic violence victims, with its office at the courthouse.
Whillock was very active with the Methodist Women’s group in Van Buren County, leading to founding the county’s Angel Tree program, and intends to continue her public service after retirement.