‘Created the path’

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Family and friends filled the benches and lined the walls of the Lunenburg County Courthouse Friday as Calvin Spencer was honored for recently being appointed General District Court judge for the 10th Judicial Circuit.

The 10th Judicial Circuit covers the counties of Appomattox, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Prince Edward, Halifax, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg. Spencer was appointed Feb. 14 and officially began his position Tuesday.

The two additional new General District Court judges in the Circuit are Darrel Puckett, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Appomattox County, and Jody Holyst Fariss, an attorney in Farmville.

Spencer graduated from the University of Virginia and Hampden-Sydney College and served as attorney with Harris, Matthews & Crowder’s Kenbridge office since 2000.

Robert Hawthorne Jr., attorney with Hawthorne & Hawthorne, P.C. and Joseph M. Teefey, circuit court judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit in Virginia, spoke about being peers of Spencer and respecting his intelligence and hard work.

State Senator Frank Ruff and Delegate Tommy Wright presented Spencer with the commission during the ceremony.

Teefey spoke about when he, an attorney in Blackstone, and Spencer, an attorney in Kenbridge, competed for cases.

He said that judges in Spencer’s new position often see an overwhelming array of cases.

Teefey said Spencer found his calling as a lawyer on cases when he could interact with people face to face, the role he had while in Kenbridge and his home in Lunenburg County.

Teefey said as judges, people often don’t remember them individually, but will remember their work.

Lunenburg Judge Leslie M. Osborn, who retired in December 2018 as Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit, swore Spencer into office. Spencer’s son, Ben, held the Bible Spencer placed his hand upon.

Meri Page Spencer, Spencer’s wife, cloaked him in judge’s robes.

Osborn, speaking during the ceremony, said he worked with Spencer for one month at the Harris, Matthews & Osborn office, now Harris, Matthews & Crowder office in Kenbridge as Osborn transitioned from an attorney to a judge.

Osborn saw Spencer as someone to aspire to as a lawyer, and anticipate Spencer having the same role as a judge, setting an example of integrity for lawyers in the district.

Spencer himself thanked members of the community who attended. He said the ceremony wasn’t to celebrate himself, but to express gratitude for everyone who helped and supported him. He thanked his family, and said they were supportive as his job was often not one that lasted from 9-5.

Paraphrasing an idea by the late Lieutenant General and Hampden-Sydney President Sam Wilson, Spencer said public servants require two qualities: integrity and wisdom.

“Thank you to everyone who created the path for me,” Spencer said.