Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

In memory of Judge Jim Wood

My heart is sad and my eyes are full again. It has only been a few weeks since I wrote about two of my other friends passing, and now here we are again.

It was the mid-Eighties when Jim Wood came riding into Whitesburg as a quiet unassuming young man from Louisville and came to call Letcher County home. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t like Jim. He was a small, but heavyset man who had a heart as big as the sky and walked as a giant among us. I recall the hours I spent with “The Judge” as we talked, hunted, or just laughed together.

Former Sheriff Steve Banks, Judge Wood, Deputy Sheriff Gale Dean Campbell and myself were rabbit hunting over on Daniel’s Branch one frosty morning when the beagles jumped and the race was on. The dogs were taking the rabbit in the Judge’s direction and we knew he would kill his first rabbit.

After several minutes of running and hearing no shot, Steve went to find out why Jim hadn’t fired a shot, only to find the Judge in the nice warm van sipping on coffee.

When I last visited Judge Wood and sickness was taking a toll on his body, I asked him how he was. He answered that things could be worse. Our District Judge is gone and we can’t bring him back, and I don’t know that we would if we could. Jim suffered a lot lately, but now he is at peace. Jim loved children and was one of the first sponsors of Kids Days, and remained a sponsor until his death. He played Santa Claus for the kids, at no charge, and was happiest when talking to them about his job and our people.

Judge Jim Wood rode into our county a stranger, but leaves a legend. Until we hunt again somewhere beyond, good-bye old friend.

Remember that we need to raise money for Raymond Brown’s youth hunt on December 26. Contact Raymond at 633-9548.

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