LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -At a celebration Friday, friends, family and courthouse employees came together to honor a judge who has been a staple in Comanche County for 43 years.
Judge Keith Aycock was at the courthouse Friday simply to vote, but he was told that an angry lawyer was demanding to talk to him. When he walked in to talk to the lawyer, he was greeted by dozens of family, friends and coworkers, past and present, giving him a standing ovation.
"It was a total surprise. I mean, I had no idea that all these friends and colleagues were going to be here and honor me this way," Judge Aycock said.
Judge Aycock was born in Lawton and has been practicing law in Comanche County since the mid-70s. He has worked for the Comanche County District Attorney's Office, practiced general law and has served as a judge at two different points in his career. Comanche County District Judge Mark Smith says Judge Aycock would never have chosen to have this party, but says it was what he deserved after all of his years of public service.
"He wanted to just kind of fade away quietly, but he had too many friends that wanted to let him know how much they appreciated his service so that's important that we do that," Judge Smith said.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt traveled down from Oklahoma City to speak about Judge Aycock at the party. He said there was no way he was going to miss this after everything Judge Aycock has done.
"The sacrifices judges, as trial judges make, and he's done that for so many years and done it well. We just…are sad to see him take retirement, but certainly wanted to be here to congratulate him and thank him for his service," Justice Watt said.
"I didn't really set out with the idea of having the type of career that would evolved into what it has been," Judge Aycock said.
Judge Aycock says he has truly enjoyed all of his time serving in the community.
"My roots are here and so it's been a privilege to serve here in Comanche County, and I hope I've done a good job," he said.
Judge Aycock will continue working until the end of the month. Judge Smith and Justice Watt agree that things will be changing come July.
"Judge Aycock provided to the state over all these many years. We're all better off for it and we're certainly going to miss him," Justice Watt said.
"All of us as judges should aspire to conduct ourselves personally and professionally as Keith Aycock. He's a good model for all judges to follow. I have a great deal of respect for him and, as I said, he's a great personal friend and I'll miss that from Keith," Judge Smith said.
Judge Aycock has truly enjoyed all of his time in Comanche County because of the great friendships he has formed with lawyers and all of the other judges.