Greenville Life Spring 2020 - Page 27

the former Greenville YMCA and the New Horizons High School. He’s participated in the Greenville Follies and volunteered for Women In Need and the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Hunt County. He was a member of the “Blast from the Past” rock and roll band, which played for community events including the Follies, the DrugFree Greenville Walkathon and the Relay for Life. “I still play and I still enjoy it, just not as much as I used to,” Thomas said. But there were some less glorious moments as well. Wofford recalls a time when there was a murder that occurred in what was then known as the notorious Whiskers Retreat subdivision of far south Hunt County. “There were seven sections of Whiskers and the deputies really didn’t want to drive their patrol cars into sections six and seven,” Wofford said. “Well, Duncan was newly elected and wanted to be seen by the voters. He wanted to go to the crime scene to get a feel for the area. A deputy and I took him to the scene. On the way back Duncan told me that he never wanted to go in that area again.” In addition to Walker and Wofford, Thomas noted how current 354th District Court Judge Keli Aiken also served as one of his assistant district attorneys, as was current County Attorney Joel Littlefield, who will be succeeding Thomas as the next judge of County Court At Law No. 2, and local defense attorney Keith Willeford. “Whether he was serving as DA, on the bench, or working on a civic project, he’s always been totally dedicated and makes the thing better than it was without him,” Walker said. Having served as the first judge of the Hunt County Court At Law No. 2 since its inception in January 2009, Thomas has seen many changes to how the job is performed, especially in the past few months. He said one example is how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered how the court docket is handled, with many hearings conducted online and through teleconferencing. “We are also doing hearings by affidavit rather than by live witnesses,” Thomas said, crediting the county’s IT department for making it all possible. “They are the ones who have been helping the judges get through all this. It makes it harder, but it is safer.” Thomas said he hopes to keep his hand in during retirement by filling in as an appointed “Acting Judge” as needed and by spending more time with his wife, Ginger. “She’s wanting to travel more and I’m sure we’ll be doing that,” Thomas said, not to mention his three sons and eight grandchildren. “I’ll certainly get to see them more once the pandemic is over. I just feel blessed to have been living as part of this community.” The wall of Hunt County Court At Law No. 2 Judge F. Duncan Thomas contains a number of awards and distinctions Thomas has earned in his more than 40 year career as prosecutor and judge. SPRING 2020 Greenville Life 27