Friday, December 7, 2012
The last remaining probate judge in Iowa, District Associate Probate Judge Ruth Klotz, is set to finally retire at the age of 90. Judge Klotz took the job at the age of 74, after a lifetime of helping people with their probate issues.
Judge Klotz began her legal career on the advice of her first husband, an attorney named Earl Fritz. In her last year of law school, she tragically lost her husband. At the time, Judge Klotz was pregnant with the couple's daughter. Without her husband to support her and their daughter, she realized that she needed to finish law school and begin working. She took the bar and began work the following Monday at the Iowa Department of Revenue. She later worked at the Dickerson Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa where she discovered her love of probate matters. She would later use her new found expertise to manage trusts at Bankers Trust. She soon became the Polk County's "probate referee." She became a judge in 1996 and is still one to this day. She is well-respected among her peers and clearly well-liked. In fact, according to USA Today, "[s]tate lawmakers worked a special exemption into the law that otherwise would have forced her to stop working at 80." Her approval rating was 96.9% before the last re-election among attorneys in a Iowa State Bar Association survey.
But from Judge Klotz's view, it is time to move on now. She does not know what she will be doing with all of her spare time now and even her daughter notes that leaving her position as a judge will probably be hard for her. The judge is looking at possibly traveling and volunteering.
See Jeff Eckhoff, 90-Year-Old Iowa Judge Decides To Retire, USA Today, Dec. 4, 2012.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.