A fond fair well

Published 12:04 am Sunday, July 12, 2015

Friends, colleagues say goodbye to long-time public servant


On Wednesday, friends and colleagues stopped by the adult probation office at the Lawrence County Courthouse to wish Jim Mayberry well in his retirement. A week from then would be his last day on duty after a 35-year career in law enforcement.

That career started in 1980 when Mayberry graduated from the police academy. The next year he joined the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office under Dan Hieronimus as a special deputy, working special details and weekend shifts part-time. He did that off and on while also taking jobs through the years with Armco, AEP and Crown City Mine before it closed.

He also helped establish a security detail at the county municipal court.

He was teaching electrical, hydraulics and pneumatics at the vocational school when in 1996 Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton asked him to work as a bailiff and court constable.

He also worked as a special officer for the adult probation department, most recently helping on the community service farm where he did the planning and heavy equipment operation.

“Everybody loves Jim,” Carl Bowen II, adult probation chief, said as people gathered in his office to share stories.

Several recalled the time Mayberry nearly flipped a tractor he was riding during a fundraising event and how his knowledge of heavy machinery allowed him to set the machine on all four wheels.

“There are drivers, and there are operators,” more than one quoted Mayberry’s mantra.

Others remembered his skill with firearms.

“He’s a really good shot,” Bowen said, recalling trips to the shooting range. “He usually licks us all.”

And then there was the time Mayberry saved Bowen from a would-be attacker.

“I’ve saved his hind end one time,” Mayberry said pointing at Bowen.

It was about 10 years ago and the two were making a house call to put an ankle monitor on a probationer.

“I was putting a bracelet on someone and he had some rowdy friends over,” Bowen said.

One of the rowdy friends loaded an arrow into a bow behind Bowen’s back. Mayberry drew his gun, advising the man he’d be better off not following through.

As people came and went, razzing Mayberry and congratulating him on his retirement, the man said what he would miss most.

“The people,” he said. “This bunch here.”