Judge John Tomlin remembered

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - The insurance man by trade was elected three years ago as Shelby County judge. It took two trys for John Tomlin to defeat a longstanding judge. The trait of perseverance was used most recently during a cancer challenge. One of the remarkable things about Judge Tomlin is that despite his serious illness he continued to work hard for the benefit of Shelby County. It gave him a purpose of the remainder of his life.

In Tomlin's honor, flags fly at half staff at a Veteran's plaza dedicated in May. Tomlin was there. He was supposed to be in the hospital, but told doctors to make other plans. "We appreciate them for coming back and thank them for the duties that they have done and it's a small token to give to them for what they have done," Tomlin said in a May interview. He obviously followed the dedicated spirit of the veterans he admired.

"Judge Tomlin was a warrior for the betterment and the greater good of Shelby County," Pam Phelps, executive director of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce expressed. Phelps worked with the judge on projects that ranged from the annual poultry and watermelon festivals to attracting economic development. "He was passionate about wanting to make Shelby county a better place to live," Phelps said.

Tomlin never stopped promoting his native Shelby County. "Come see us. Come join us and we might be able to relocate some businesses in here," Tomlin said in a pre-election interview.  Long after he was elected he continues to believe, "that (business) brings more money, more revenue."

Before Tomlin was county judge, he served a decade on the Center School Board. "He realized the importance of education for our community," Dr. Dixon Golden, Center ISD Board president said. "He wanted education not only for elementary, junior high and high school students, but he also promoted higher education.

Tomlin's dedication to Shelby County comes honestly. His great grandfather helped construct the county's distinctive courthouse. Tomlin was a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, the Historical Society &  the Historical Commission. Tomlin was instrumental in restoring a band gazebo and the First Ladies In Texas building, devoted to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas on the old courthouse square.

"Other than his wife and daughters, his county was his first concern," Lila Akin, president of the Shelby County Historical Commission said with tears in her eyes. She too is a close friend of the family.

Judge Tomlin was 65 years old and remained a man who never stopped setting goals for Shelby County.

Tomlin's visitation continues until 8 o'clock Wednesday tonight at Watson and Sons Funeral Home in Center. Tomlin's funeral is Thursday at 10:30 at First United Methodist Church in Center.

On Friday, Shelby County Commissioners will conduct a special meeting to appoint a county judge pro-tem.

©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.