By Heather Spaulding
Attorneys, judges, county employees and islanders from all walks of life gathered at the San Juan Brewery on Dec. 15 to congratulate San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord on retiring after 28 years.
“There are two things I really appreciated about him: he cares about justice over winning, and he hires smart, opinionated people who disagree with him, and that is a sign of good leadership,” said Deputy Prosecuting attorney Jon Cain.
Many attendees mentioned how accessible Gaylord was, always willing to meet and talk with members of the community.
“His door was always open,” local attorney Lawrence DeLay said. “He even let me into his office, which I really appreciated.”
Retired San Juan County deputy Jon Zerby recalled how well Gaylord worked with the sheriff’s office, was approachable when deputies had questions and gave great advice with cases.
Linnea Anderson, Juvenile Court Administrator, said she believed Gaylord, an Orcas resident, truly served the community in terms of safety.
Added Orcas attorney Katie Blaine: “He brought a level of humanity to the prosecutor’s office. He did a great job, and he will be missed.”
Superior Court Administrator Jane Severin told the Journal she hopes Gaylord will keep running, biking and staying active.
“I have been honored to work for Randy for the last six and a half years. I’ve learned a great deal from him about becoming a better prosecutor, a better human,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Barnett said.
Superior Court Clerk Lisa Hendrickson noted that Gaylord will be a tough act to follow.
Prosecuting Attorney Elect Amy Vira presented a gift from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office staff. Gaylord smiled as he opened it: a book of photos and articles going back to the 1990s when he first ran for office.
As he flipped through the pages, Gaylord regaled the crowd with a brief story about a picture of him on Waldron.
“I got to go to all the islands, ferry served or not. Waldron is one of my favorite places,” he said.
There was also a picture of him with an injured knee, to which Gaylord laughed, “Just because I’m hurt doesn’t mean I won’t show up!”
He thanked his staff past and present, including retired deputy prosecuting attorneys Karen Vedder and Charlie Silverman.
“It has been a real pleasure, and we are in good hands. Amy Vira, Jon Cain, Theresa Barnett. You have solid people,” Gaylord said.
Gaylord wore a tie decorated with skiers to the event.
“Every tie I wear tells a story,” he explained. “This tie tells the story about the next chapter in my life, visiting my kids, skiing, spending time with my wife Marnie, and enjoying the island.”
For the last eight years, he has been doing commentary in English on big running and biking races around the world. Remotely he has done commentary for races in Switzerland, and Nice.
“I love this job and I’ve embraced it fully. I have made this office the best it can be. I’m not sure where life will go but I’m sure I will embrace it with the same enthusiasm as I did with the prosecutor’s office,” he said.