Retired Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole thanked the Perquimans County Commission Monday for the honor of having a courtroom named after him within the historic county courthouse.

“The other day when you made that presentation, it as now, brought tears to my eyes that a poor little country boy would receive that kind of recognition,” he said. “I just wanted to come and say thank you.”

Cole, who was re-elected in 2018 to an eight-year term, is retiring now because he’s reached 72, the mandatory retirement age for judges in the state. The good Judge talked about his humble beginnings being the oldest of six children growing up in a house that drew water from a hand pump and relied on an outhouse for other matters.

“The good Lord has blessed me from those humble beginnings to stand here before you this evening as a retired Superior Court judge, who in that position can hold court in any county in this great state,” he said.

Recently, Cole, who retired from the 1st Judicial District bench on March 31, was also presented the N.C. Friend of the Court Award by retired Court of Appeals Judge Linda McGee. The award has been presented only 61 times by the N.C. Supreme Court in recognition of outstanding service to the state’s judicial branch or for having a positive impact on the state’s courts.

Cole’s gentle voice was strained with emotion as he spoke to the commission.

“I am the oldest of six. My parents accepted no excuses. My father was a taskmaster. Because of that I was able to go to school and receive my education and ended up going to law school at the urging of my beautiful wife. I accept the award on behalf of the whole county. It is not that J.C. Cole has done anything that is special, but each and every one of you in your own way have touched me, encouraged me. That encouragement, those prayers allowed me to serve 26 years. It’s almost like going to the Super Bowl after you served your career and then to have the folks in the county that you love to present me not only with a plaque, but also to have a courtroom named after me. It’s like winning the Super Bowl. I love you guys and I’m truly, truly thank you for the honor.”

In other matters, commission appointed a committee to study the future of the Confederate monument on courthouse green.

Those appointed to the committee are: 

  • Keith Throckmorton
  • Johnny Caddy
  • Gwayland McCleney
  • Tammy Miller-White
  • Jeff Proctor
  • Antoine Moore
  • Debbie Jean Parker
  • Brenda Lassiter

Committee will meet between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on April 20, May 6 and June 1 at the Perquimans library. Public is invited to attend, but not allowed to comment during the meetings.

In other news, county will be applying for a $131,000 state grant to build two tennis courts with the county’s match being $65,600.

More commission news will appear in the next edition.

Miles Layton can be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com