President’s Message – Feb/March 2013

I attended the retirement party for Judge Ruth Klotz last week. As many of you know, Judge Klotz was an institution at the Polk County Courthouse, where she served as probate judge for over 34 years, retiring at the age of 90.

Polk County District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson and United States Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer made bracelets for all of the judges with the initials “WWRD” (What would Ruth do?”). The bracelets drew much laughter. Speaker after speaker talked of the immense knowledge that Judge Klotz possessed about probate law.

As I left that wonderful celebration that night, I thought of the times I appeared in front of Judge Klotz. When I would appear in front of her, I would feel a lot like I did as a kid being sent to the principal’s office. She would look at me over her glasses to ask me questions, as she carefully read each and every Application and Order put in front of her.  The day I left her chambers and she had not made any corrections to my proposed Order, I knew that I had made it as a lawyer.

“What would Ruth do?” is not just humorous, but is a great slogan for us to remember what made Judge Klotz truly an institution. It was not just her knowledge of the probate area that made her one of a kind, but it was her work ethic, the way she treated everyone who appeared in front of her with respect and dignity, and her commitment to public service. “What would Ruth do” is a great thing to remember