LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - East Texans are still reeling in the loss of an East Texas judge. Judge Bill Jennings died from a sudden heart attack while sailing with friends this weekend. His funeral will be Thursday afternoon at 3pm at United Methodist Church in Longview.
A memorial is now in place on the doors of Judge Bill Jennings' courtroom. On the bench for only 10 months his colleagues say that time was well spent.
"You would think, he would learn from me, being that I was a judge for almost 13 years, but the reality was I came to learn from him," said Judge David Brabham. "He had such as enthusiasm and energy for his job and it was contagious."
The relationship between Judge Brabham and Jennings started long before he became a district judge.
"[On] July 19th 1996, a day I'll never forget, Bill at one end of the hall was sworn in as the district attorney and I was sworn in as judge of the 188th district court," said Brabham. "So we began our careers together."
A career that came with respect from his peers.
"I'd worked against him as a defense lawyer,' said Carl Dorrough, the Gregg County District Attorney. "He was a defense lawyer and I was a prosecutor and you know Bill was just one that you always had to work hard...you had to work hard against him as a prosecutor, you weren't going to get anything by him and then when he became DA He brought that with him."
A man of integrity with a sense of humor.
"Bill was a rock but he was also was a rocket," said Dorrough, smiling. "You just couldn't pin him down. He was always here there and everywhere."
For Jennings' colleagues, his counsel and friendship will be missed. But, it's his spirit that will live on.
"He was at the beginning of a long and distinguished judicial career and it's just so tragic that it ended so soon," said Brabham.
Jennings' family requests that memorial donations, in honor of Judge Jennings, be made to the American Heart Association or Mothers Against Drunk Driving.