Had to say goodbye to one of my mentors today. He was not only a mentor, but a friend, someone who took me under his wing, and someone who was later able to refer to me as colleague in his profession; thanks partially to his guidance. The memorial service for retired DeWitt County Circuit Judge Stephen Peters’ was held today, March 25, 2011, in Clinton, Illinois: http://goo.gl/4IHrr
He was a man that I admired very much, and who really seemed to take a liking to me since before I completed my undergraduate studies at Illinois State University (ISU). Our many conversations began while I was an intern at the DeWitt County Sheriff’s department while studying criminal justice at ISU. They continued into law school and after I entered the profession. His daughter Melissa and I went to high school together, and we even sat near one another in study hall, although she was a year or two behind me in school. I will miss our friendly conversations in his chambers; it was something I always looked forward to when I went back to Clinton. He had a tough job, and some who appeared before him might not have cared for him as much as I did, but they didn’t know the man glaring down at them from the bench like I and many others did; and like him or not, they certainly had to respect him. I was glad I was able to get a glimpse of the kind of person he was without the black robe on, and am grateful he took a liking to me. He was a good man to me, and that’s all that counts in my book.
It wasn’t shortly after he retired that he became ill. When I first heard the news, it saddened me very much, because here was a man that worked hard his entire life to get to get to his “golden years”. The time I know he worked so hard for, looked forward to, and which should have been spent enjoying with his wife, lovely daughters, and grandchildren. A time which was so suddenly shortened.
Ironically, during Melissa’s eulogy, she told everyone her father advised her that she could do whatever she wanted in life, except become an attorney. Humm, when I see him next, I’ll have to ask why I didn’t get that same sound advice, lol.
You will be missed sir.