Judge Larry Meyer is retiring at the end of this year, leaving the Associate Circuit Court Division 2 caseload in the capable hands of Sam Jones.
Meyer graduated from Mt. Vernon High School and went on to earn his bachelor of science degree at the University of Arkansas. He received his juris doctorate in 1967.
Meyer practiced law in Aurora from 1967 until 1999, when he was elected judge. He took a short break to serve with the Missouri National Guard's 203rd Engineering Battalion in Pierce City.
"There is no one case that stands out in my mind in my 12 years on the bench," Meyer said. "I tried to treat all cases as important whether it was a small claims case or a million dollar wrongful death case.
"I know the decisions all judges make affect people's lives and are important to them," Meyer said. "Although I cannot say all of my decisions have been correct, I have made them without allowing family, social, political or other relationships to influence how I rule. I strongly believe an independent judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society."
In his 12 years on the bench, Meyers noted a significant increase of the number of cases filed, particularly criminal cases. The advent of electronic media and resources has also been a welcome change over the years.
"I will miss the challenges of the judicial arena after retirement," Meyers said. "I'll also miss the daily interaction with people, and I'll especially miss working with the Circuit Clerk's offices in the circuit. They, along with all of the other people in the judicial system, from bailiffs to probation, are a very dedicated group of people who have been a great help to me."
Many of Meyer's colleagues attested to his fairness and integrity during his 12 years on the bench and previously in his law practice.
During a reception in his honor, Meyer was awarded a number of proclamations in appreciation of his service to the citizens of Lawrence County.
Senator Jack Goodman, of the 29th District, presented Meyer a resolution from the Missouri State Senate.
"This is a bittersweet day," Goodman said. "Judge Larry Meyer is one of the most dedicated public servants I know."
Goodman continued extolling Meyers' virtues and accomplishments during his tenure on the bench.
"Judge Meyer has served as my personal role model as a man, as a father and as a future grandfather," Goodman said. "Some people seek election to office to make a big deal. Judge Meyer has made a big difference."
Meyer also received commendations from the Missouri Supreme Court, the Lawrence County Judiciary, the Missouri Bar Association, the Southwest Missouri Bar Association and the Lawrence County Commission.
Retired Judge J. Edward Sweeney also offered praise concerning his association with Meyer on the Lawrence County Circuit.
"A judge only makes two promises when he takes his oath," Sweeney said, "to be fair and impartial and to move their docket in an expeditious manner.
"Larry Meyer moved thousands of cases through the court both expeditiously and fairly," Sweeney continued. "We certainly wish him, Sandy and their family the best in the years to come."
Meyer's last day on the bench will be Dec. 30, and he is considering opening a new law office.
"I just haven't decided where," Meyer said. "I hope to do some limited law practice and mediation."