Mercer mourns death of McGinnis

September 22, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Mercer County Judge-Executive Charles McGinnis lost his battle with cancer Saturday evening.

"He will be missed," was the sentiment expressed by friends, colleagues and an employee when talking about his death.

"He was wonderful to work for," said Deputy Judge-Executive Gayle Horn.

McGinnis, 59, was in the first year of his second term as judge-executive. His integrity and dedication to the job were praised.

"He was probably one of the most honest people I've ever worked with," said first-term Magistrate Eddie Burton. "When I first went on the (Mercer County Fiscal) Court, he offered to help me anyway he could.

"He was there for the last meeting; that's how dedicated he was."

Through his 2 1/2 year battle with cancer, he missed only three meetings, Horn said. He presided at the court's last meeting on Sept. 9.


Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder went to see him the day after that last meeting and, while he was somewhat sedated, "He spoke to me, and I'll treasure that always. He even made a joke about my going to Japan."

Wilder and McGinnis served together on the Joint Jail Committee that oversees the Boyle County Detention Center. Wilder did not know his Mercer County counterpart before he became judge-executive, but they became acquainted through the committee.

"I'm just deeply saddened he has passed," Wilder said. "He was a good partner to work with. He was probably one of the most conscientious persons I've ever worked with."

"I don't think you can beat him," said Magistrate J.B. Claunch, who joined the court in 1999 with McGinnis. "You can replace him, but you won't beat him. He spent money like it was his. If he spent $1, he wanted to know where it was going.

"He really tried to beat (cancer)," Claunch said. "I know he will be missed by the whole county."

"I'll remember his commitment to the people of Mercer County," said Bruce Harper, who McGinnis appointed as interim county clerk in the summer. "He put the well-being of Mercer County above everything else.

"He worked diligently every day," said Harper. "I think he lived to come to work. He was a real trooper. He so much wanted to come back and fill out his term. It just didn't work out. Mercer County's loss is heaven's gain."

Horn said that two weeks ago, when McGinnis' death seemed imminent, she wrote down what she felt about the judge.

"Charlie McGinnis was a good man, a man of integrity and a Christian," Horn wrote. The judge was a conservative manager of the county's treasury and understood all of the laws and regulations under which county governments operate.

"He always did what he thought was right, even when it was not popular," she wrote. "He worked well with Fiscal Court, and he was patient and fair with all the employees. He cared about all of the citizens of this county.

"I feel blessed to have known Charlie as a person and to have the privilege of working with him. He will truly be missed."

All county offices will be closed Tuesday. The Fiscal Court meeting scheduled for Tuesday may have to be held at a later date. Horn said she was trying to contact magistrates to find out how they want to proceed.

Harper said the governor must appoint someone to the job, who will serve until the next General Election. Harper does not think that means the Nov. 4 election.

Central Kentucky News Articles