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Jackson reflects on 33-year career in VZC Courthouse

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Jackson reflects on 33-year career in VZC Courthouse

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  • Photo by David Barber
    Kathy Jackson

During a retirement reception for Kathy Jackson held Dec. 12, Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick remarked that if you need to know anything about the VZC Courthouse, she would be the person to go to first.

After 33 years working in a number of different roles in the courthouse, Jackson entered retirement effective Dec. 31, 2018.

Jackson, 62, was born in Dallas and raised in Lufkin. After graduating from North Mesquite High School in 1974, Jackson worked for an insurance company in downtown Dallas for approximately five years.

She then got married and moved to Myrtle Springs in the Wills Point ISD in the early 1980’s and has lived in VZC ever since.

“When I first moved to VZC, I worked as a waitress for a couple of years,” recalled Jackson. “I volunteered working for the county for a year before I was hired. My husband worked for Tommy’s Garage and Tommy’s wife was working for the sheriff’s office at that time. I decided to go to the sheriff’s office and apply after visiting with her.”

Her first full-time job in the VZC Courthouse began on July 1, 1985, where she worked for the sheriff’s department as a dispatcher.

Jackson discussed the different challenges that she faced working as a dispatcher. “The job was different when I started compared to today,” said Jackson. “We did not have road numbers back then and you had to rely on descriptions of roads. I felt confident about doing the job once I learned how to do the job. When I volunteered, I watched and I felt like I was ready to jump into it. An opening came up when I was volunteering and I applied and got the full-time job. Travis Shafer was the sheriff at that time. I also worked under Pat Jordan when he was sheriff.”

After her work as a dispatcher, Jackson became a records clerk in the sheriff’s department. “I then became a juvenile officer and I worked as the administrator under Sheriff Bill Deen,” recalled Jackson.

When Deen passed away in 2000, the VZC Commissioners Court appointed Jackson as interim VZC Sheriff for eight months until the next election cycle when Pat Burnett was elected.

“I left the sheriff’s department and went to work in the county judge’s office when Jeff Fisher was the VZC Judge,” said Jackson. “I also worked for Rhita Koches when she was county judge but when she lost her election, I went to work at the district clerk’s office for five months.”

During her work in the county judge’s office, Jackson also worked in the area of county insurance as well as inventory for the entire county.

“That is why people thought I had a whole bunch of jobs working for the county because they would see me all over the county,” pointed out Jackson. “I was doing inventory for road and bridge, the justice of the peace offices, etc.”

In Jan. 2014, Jackson moved to her final job as court coordinator for former VZC District Judge Teresa Drum before announcing her retirement in 2018.

Jackson discussed the emotions that she has dealt with as the countdown to her retirement ended Dec. 31, 2018.

“I have been very fortunate that I was able to be here as long as I have,” emphasized Jackson. “There are a lot of people that I owe a lot of thanks to. I am looking forward to my retirement but I am a little bit antsy about it because of the unknown.”

Among the things that Jackson will be involved in during her retirement will be working with her mother in researching genealogy of their family.

“She’s got some information and I have some information as well so we are going to try to combine all of that together,” said Jackson. “I am also interested in traveling.”

Jackson and her husband, Harvey, have two sons and three teenage granddaughters, who are all residing in the Wills Point area.

“God has really blessed me for being able to work in the courthouse for 33 years and I am very thankful for everyone He has put into my life because they have helped me along the way,” said Jackson. “I have seen a lot of changes through the years. I did not always agree with everything that was being done here but I tried to go with the flow and not make waves. When new people come in, sometimes, there are changes in those offices and that is sad. I have been very blessed to be here 33 years.”

The retired VZC District Judge Court Coordinator commented on what she enjoyed most about her work in the courthouse and the most satisfaction she received from being there for 33 years.

“I enjoy VZC and the people in the county,” summarized Jackson. “I have met so many people and have made so many new friends. I have always preferred to work here than in Dallas. I could have gone to a bigger city and made more money but I did not want to do that. I wanted to stay here and be with my family.”