NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Between the two of them, Jerry and Sharon Poole have spent a total of 66 years in the Nacogdoches County Courthouse.
Jerry is a court reporter. His wife, Sharon, is the court administrator. Right now, they're both looking forward to spending time with one another during retirement, not work.
Jerry set up a stenograph prior to Friday morning's court proceedings. He's done this for …
"Forty-one and a half years. That's long enough," Jerry said.
Across the judge's bench sits Sharon. The court administrator checks the schedule she's maintained for 25 years.
"I'm kinda the person behind the scenes that makes everything work," Sharon said.
Together the couple had front row seats on almost every court proceeding coming from the 145th Judicial District courtroom. They've seen change in legal battles, particularly when it comes to juveniles.
"When we first started, if we had a juvenile who committed a crime we would actually have to go to the books to see what to do with them," Jerry said. "There just wasn't that many."
Now complete days are designated to juvenile matters. Sharon notes more cases are settled out of the courtroom eliminating the often unpleasant experience of a civil or criminal trial.
"It's scary to come up here to have to face that," Sharon said.
The couple remembers many intense courtroom battles and try to forget the run-of-the-mill legal cases. They both say thank goodness for computer software.
"When I started you had to write it all on paper in ink," Jerry said. "It produced a fold in a paper."
"I came to work in the courtroom which is twice as big as the one we have now; it was full of attorneys," Sharon said. "Every attorney for every civil case had to come announce their cases."
Things have changed since then.
"We give the attorneys the ability to schedule their cases without coming to the courthouse," Sharon said.
What will the couple miss most?
"We're going to miss a lot of our friends here we see every day," Jerry said. They really are another family to us. But we'll be coming back."
Only next time, they'll be observers, not participants in the legal system.
Jerry plans to keep his court reporting license in order to do some freelancing when needed.
Right now, Sharon is devoted to four granddaughters, and there is another grandchild on the way. The Pooles' last day is October 31st.