Local attorney works in office of his late father

September 22, 2003


Staff Writer

When George M. McClure III retired as Boyle County attorney last December, he did what a lot of retirees do and took a trip. But it wasn't a long trip around the world. It was a short trip down the street - and back in time.

"I went on a nostalgia trip," McClure said.

The trip was down East Main Street, from the Boyle County Courthouse, where he had worked for more than three decades, to the historic E.B. Russell House, an 1887 structure that now houses the law firm of Helton, Erwin and Associates. Since the beginning of the year, McClure has been working part-time assisting Ephraim Helton, Bill Erwin and their associate, Patrick McClure, the former county attorney's 29 year-old son.

"It's been fun being able to work with my own son," said McClure, 68, who pitches in to handle whatever cases or field whatever questions that come his way from Helton, Erwin and his son. "I get to see him and talk to him virtually every day."


And what makes those chats with his son special is where they take place - an office that is the reason the elder McClure calls his retirement trip nostalgic. It's definitely a "like father, like son" situation.

The first-floor office McClure occupies, with its rich, dark wooden features and high ceilings, is part of the office that once housed the medical practice of his father and Patrick's grandfather, the late Dr. George M. McClure Jr.

"Where I'm sitting is where my mother (the late Helen McClure) sat when she was my dad's secretary and receptionist," he said. "Earlier, this was his office. Either way, this general part of the building was dad's one and only office for more than 50 years."

McClure's father began his medical practice in 1931 with the late Dr. John D. Jackson. He had graduated from Centre College and a medical school in Chicago. His long tenure as a physician was interrupted twice - for one year when he studied surgery in Boston and for three years when he served in the Navy during World War II. When he returned to Danville he later was joined in his practice by two other doctors, Dr. Robert Batemen of Danville and the late Dr. Arthur Jester.

"I recall coming by here so many times as a kid to visit my mom and to see my dad, if he wasn't too busy with patients," said McClure.

George III gained notoriety as a public servant for a third of a century. George Jr. gained prominence for serving as a member of Danville's then-small medical community for a half of a century. But the two were both outdown by George Jr.'s father, George III's grandfather and Patrick's great-grandfather, the late George M. McClure Sr. He served as an educator at the Kentucky School for the Deaf for two-thirds of a century.

"My grandfather lived from 1861 to 1965," said McClure. "He was deaf but was able to go to Centre after he graduated from KSD. He taught at KSD for 67 years."

No, George Sr. never had an office in the E.B. Russell House and thus doesn't share the office history of his son, grandson and great-grandson, but he does fit the McClure pattern of working in a profession and putting in a lot of years. In fact, he started the pattern.

George Sr.'s grandson has established a semi-retiree's pattern of work and leisure. He gets up early every weekday and fishes from his boat on Herrington Lake for an hour or two. Meanwhile, his wife, Patsy McClure, who worked for years as an assistant in the county attorney's office, spends part of her days montioring a day care center she partly owns in Lexington.

After fishing, McClure then heads to the McClure family office about 9 a.m. and puts in several hours of work.

"I do miss the many coworkers and friends I had at the courthouse. We had a special camaraderie," said McClure, who was appointed county attorney by then-County Judge Gilbert White in 1972 upon the resignation of George Silliman and then was continuously re-elected over the next 31 years, mostly by large vote margins.

"And I miss working with (Boyle) Fiscal Court and advising the magistrates and judge-executive on many very important issues affecting this community and I miss the attorneys and judges in district court," he said. "But I don't miss having to go to court every morning or the, how do I put it, contentious people involved in some of the cases."

McClure still handles cases, but only a small number and in his own time and without contention or pressure. And he gets to handle them in a very special place.

They say you can't go home again, but McClure proves it's possible to do the next best thing.

"Working in the office that belonged to my dad for so many years and where my mom also worked is almost like going home," he said. |None***

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