David Nix honored

Present for the special honor of having the courtroom named after their father and husband were Jane Nix and two of the couple’s three daughters, Kathryn and Meg. The oldest daughter, Shannon, could not make it for the event.

A large crowd turned out for the occasion to honor Nix for his serve of 47 years to the people of Barbour County with each wishing him well and congratulating him.

As the ceremony got under way, Circuit Court Judge Burt Smithart of the Third Judicial Circuit greeted everyone and thanked them for attending and also thanked the county commission for doing what they did in helping get the courtroom dedicated to David Nix.

“When we were young lawyers and Judge Robertson was the judge, he scared us all to death. You could go to David and get some advice on about how to handle that. Walter Calton and I have talked about that, we all had to do that because it was difficult. David was a mentor and a leader and helped us. I will always be grateful,” Smithart said about his time serving in the court system with Nix.

“If there was ever been anybody more deserving of having something named after him or being recognized, it’s Mr. David Nix. He’s been the Circuit Clerk for 47 something years, well before my time,” District Judge Matt Horne said. “He was the first to be at the courthouse and the last to leave.

“I always called him Judge Nix because he always knew what was going on. You didn’t want to call another lawyer that was five or six years older than you -- first you didn’t want to let them know that you didn’t know what you were doing, and second you didn’t want to feel like you were inferior. You could call David Nix and he never said I can’t help you or I won’t help you, he would say, ‘What kind of case you got,’ and I would tell him what my situation was and he would tell me the name of a case and a case number… it could have been from last year or 30 years ago but he would tell you where to go get it and it would have the documents or what you were looking for in it. That’s the kind of resource you don’t have anymore. You don’t have people that do jobs for 47 years. I have always looked up to him and appreciated him.”

Speaking on behalf of the county commission, County Attorney Walter Calton said, “Just by way of history, when Judge Smithart and Judge Horne approached us about the idea of naming this courtroom it was something relatively unknown about how to do. Some of you may not know but since 1834, Clayton has been the county seat and there has been a courthouse in Clayton; when you think about all the people that have come in and out of that door since 1834, that’s amazing. From this day forward, when they come through that door it will be into the David Nix Courtroom. I think that’s significant. That is something the county commission thought long and hard about, but when they thought about it, they were truly unified. There was not anybody on the commission that didn’t think it was a good and honorable thing to do for someone that means so much to Barbour County. So on behalf of the county commission and the citizens, David, we thank you for all you mean to us. Having your name on this room and having the plaque is a small show of what you mean to the citizens.”

Christy Crow, the 144th President of the Alabama State Bar, spoke next, saying, “The Alabama State Bar motto is that lawyers render service. Lawyers are taught to render service by people in their community and there is no one in the Third Judicial Circuit that taught me more about how to render service in my community than David Nix. He has rendered service both to the community here and to the community of lawyers across the Third Judicial Circuit and across the state. I want to thank you for all of your service to all of us. You taught me how to strike a jury, and how to talk to a jury while trying to strike a jury. I’m not nearly as good at it as you are but you certainly taught us all a lot.”

“What an honor,” Nix said as he stood to address everyone. “There are three things life stands for –Faith, Family and Friends. That’s the three Fs you might want to remember. When I read my bible last night, I was reading about giving thanks for whatever situation you’re in… because it could be worse. When you are healthy all your life and then get sick, you wonder why, but that answers the question -- it could be worse. What I am talking about is giving thanks for everything that happens to you.”

“I appreciate the DA’s office coming, the lawyers, and friends -- when I say friends, that covers everybody. All the lawyers know they’re my friends. Everybody knows I’m there for them. I’d do most anything I can for them. I appreciate the judicial officers, the judges, and the sheriff. I’m glad you’re here.”

Nix went on to introduce the current Circuit Clerk, Paige Smith, and thanked the staff of the Clerk’s Office saying, “Some of my help that is here was with me a long time, and I appreciate them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be up here today. I couldn’t have done the job as well.

“We’ve all worked together,” Nix said. “I’ve always said it’s hard enough to work together when it’s all going right -- don’t’ try to make it hard.

“What an honor it is to be standing in the David S. Nix Courtroom. From now on they’ve got to put down the David Nix Courtroom to report to instead of Courtroom-Clayton.”

Nix received a standing ovation from those in attendance.

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