“I thought if I was going to do it, then now is the time,” Day said on his last full day as judge.
A look back
Day, a 1960 graduate of LaFayette High School, began his judicial career with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit on Jan. 1, 1979, when the state of Georgia still held positions for justice of the peace and small claims judges.
In 1983, those two positions were abolished and the titles were change to magistrate judge, with one magistrate for each county. Day began his career as magistrate for Walker County that same year.
Day will not leave the bench entirely. He has agreed to work part-time as magistrate judge. His successor for full-time magistrate judge is his career-long assistant, Shelia Thompson, as she was appointed by the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Court.
Thompson began her career within a few months of Day’s start at the bench in 1979. She began as his secretary and then became assistant magistrate.
Day said he has seen a lot of changes in his time as magistrate, including the cost of civil hearings and a wider jurisdiction. “It has changed a lot over the years,” Day said.
According to Day, he has seen a lot of interesting trials in his time at the bench.
“We should have kept a journal. We could have written a book,” Day said, joking.
Time for family, fun
Day is looking forward to his extra time at home. He plans to spend more time with his family, especially his three grandchildren.
Day and his wife Mary plan do some traveling as well. Day recalled a trip he and his wife took to Colorado, driv-ing his 2003 Honda Goldwing motorcycle, touring the area and seeing the beautiful landscape.
Day has taken his motorcycle trips through Canada, the Rockies, and along the California coast.
Day said he looks forward to more touring on bike with Mary, as long as he remains in good health.
Day also looks forward to fishing and playing golf.
The Days have a daughter, 35-year-old Lacey Cobb, and the entire family lives in LaFayette.
Mary, who is retired, looks forward to the extra time the judge will have at home with her, Day said.
“We plan to spend more time together and go out and do some things,” Day said.
Day said, even though he looks forward to his retirement, he will miss all the people he has worked with in his 30-year-plus career.
“How can you not (miss them) after all those years,” he said.
A fair man
Known throughout the area to be a fair judge and especially to the youth, Day appreciates the confidence that was placed on him to serve the area.
“It has always been my goal to be fair to everyone and treat people like you would want to be treated,” he said. “I appreciate the people for letting me serve all these years. The people of Walker County have been so good to me and I hope they feel that I have done a good job for them, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”