Remembering Justice of the Peace, Judge Bill Lemmert - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

SMITH COUNTY (KLTV)

Remembering Justice of the Peace, Judge Bill Lemmert

For the second time in less than a year, tragedy strikes a Smith County precinct office.  After saying goodbye to Constable Frank Creath in June, Precinct 2 loses its justice of the peace and friend.  

At the age of 55, Smith County Justice of the Peace, Judge Bill Lemmert passed away Friday night unexpectedly from a heart attack.  Lemmert served as JP for Precinct 2 for more than 16 years, which covers the southwest part of the county.  

"I've heard people call him a big teddy bear before, you know, he's just a neat guy," said Smith County JP, Precinct 5 Judge James Cowart.  It's one phone call, fellow Smith County JP Judge James Cowart says he will never forget.  Friday night, Cowart's job became personal when he pronounced his friend of 18 years dead.

"You know, you meet some people, and you really have a good kindred spirit with them, and Bill and I always had that kindred spirit," said Cowart.  Cowart and Lemmert both took office in 1991.  Before becoming a justice of the peace, Cowart says Lemmert worked in law enforcement as a deputy constable and deputy marshal for the city of Tyler.

"I think he felt like he was doing some positive things for his community," said Cowart.  "He enjoyed the job, you know, even though inquests are not the most fun, he still enjoyed the job."  Cowart says he remembers the time Lemmert went above and beyond to give an unborn child found in a dumpster a proper burial.

"He didn't just stop at doing the inquest and taking care of the professional part of it, but went into the compassionate part and the person part," said Cowart.  Lemmert recently moved into a new office, something Smith County Commissioner Precinct 1 Joann Fleming says Lemmert was extremely proud of.  It was just last week, Fleming says the parking lot got striped.

"He came in to see me a few days ago, and when he left from here he had that big grin on his face, and he said 'well you just come by and see me now and park in one of those new parking places', and I said, 'I would be glad to,'" said Fleming.  Friends say Lemmert listened and made good decisions, and his willingness to help others will be greatly missed.    

Judge Lemmert leaves behind his wife, daughter and two grandchildren.  His funeral service will take place Monday at 2 p.m. at the Stewart Family Funeral Home Chapel in Tyler.  A private burial will follow.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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