Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Ohio Supreme Court Holiday Party
Dec. 4, 2018

(Remarks prepared for delivery on Dec. 4, 2018, in the Law Library Reading Room at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center)

Thank you, Stephanie, for that warm introduction.

I’m grateful that we can all be here to celebrate the holidays together at the Supreme Court after another year of hard work.

First, I would like to pick four lucky winners who will receive gift cards as door prizes.

Congratulations to the winners! Please enjoy the gift cards!

I want to thank the Employee Events Committee, whose members take the time to plan – not only this holiday party, but events all year long.

The EEC members are:

This holiday season is the proper time to welcome back family, and acknowledge those who unfortunately can’t be with us today.

Michael Woods of Judicial Services is spending the holidays overseas, serving our country in the U.S. Army Reserves in Iraq.

I understand he’s been sending pictures of himself in an old courtroom from Saddam Hussein’s regime. And we’ve been sending him care packages to show how much we miss him.

Michael, we wish you a happy holiday and a safe return home in the spring.

This past year we had much to be grateful for.

I want to thank each of you for your hard work.

I can’t tell you proud I am of the great work you are performing.

You are making Ohio a better place through your work here at the Court.

Many of you are new. We welcomed 35 new employees at the court this year.

At the same time, I’m proud that we have recognized the solid work of many employees by promoting them to new positions.

For me, there’s no better feeling than recognizing the talent that’s already here inside our Court building.

I also appreciate your teamwork. By working together – only by working together – we can succeed.

I want to acknowledge staff members who retired this year:

I wish each of them happy retirement years – and a sincere thank-you for serving our Court and the Ohio judicial system.

While we think back on the good times of the past year, it’s also time to reflect on those we have lost.

All of us are taking time to remember co-workers, family members, and friends who have passed on. They are in our hearts and in warm, loving memories.

One of those people is Stanley Landrum.

Stan Landrum passed away last month. 

He joined the Court in 1985 and retired in 2010. He worked in Court Security and the Mail Center. Stan is gone, but not forgotten, in our hearts and in our memories.

We also lost Pam Wynsen, in February.

Pam was Deputy Reporter in the Office of the Reporter, and was a dedicated employee for 34 years.

Pam was known for her wit, and she became legendary for her precise writing and editing skills. She devoted tremendous energy to her job, yet always in a kind manner.

We miss Pam.

I hope all of us can incorporate kindness and openness into our lives throughout this holiday season.

We have many role models for kindness right here in this room.

Our staff is currently collecting toys for the Franklin County Children Services Holiday Wish Program.

Recently, Court staff, family, and friends volunteered their time at the Ronald McDonald house of Central Ohio to bake sweets for the families who stay there while their children are treated at Children’s Hospital.

In May, Court staff volunteered at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and the Kroger Community Pantry, assisting families.

As I said in my Thanksgiving note – in this holiday season I hope we can come together and strive to ease division, to respect our differences, and celebrate that which unites us.

And let’s not stop when the holiday is over. Let us practice kindness and understanding every day.

I would like to acknowledge two justices who are leaving the Court at month’s end ... Justices O’Donnell and DeGenaro.

Justice O’Donnell and Justice DeGenaro, you both served the citizens of Ohio well – and you served justice well. Many thanks to both of you – from all of us. Would you both like to make a few remarks?

Thank you, justices, for insights and for your work.

On behalf of the Court, as small tokens for your work, I have these gifts for you.

I’m so grateful for the extraordinary people who work in this building.

Your generous spirit continues to make me proud.

As I close, I’d like to say that, on behalf of all of the justices, and with the deepest appreciation, you have our best wishes for Hanukkah, which has just begun, and for a very, Merry Christmas, and the happiest of New Years.

God Bless.