Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 13, 2012

Son replaces father as judge

Timothy Spahr appointed to Miami County Circuit Court

By Carson Gerber
Tribune staff writer

— PERU — Gov. Mitch Daniels last week appointed Timothy Spahr as the next Miami County Circuit Court judge. He succeeds his father, Robert Spahr, who passed away in September from cancer.

Timothy Spahr, 39, will take the bench Dec. 28 and finish out his father’s term, which ends in 2014.

Judge Robert Spahr announced in August he would take a temporary medical leave of absence after experiencing excessive coughing and unexplainable weight loss.

Further medical tests revealed he had extensive cancer in five organs. The judge began chemotherapy, but quickly stopped treatment.

Tim Spahr, who has worked as a self-employed attorney in Peru for the last 15 years, said Monday he has wanted to be a judge for nearly a decade.

In 2004, he narrowly lost election for judgeship in Miami County. In 2007, he applied for the Circuit Court judge position after Rosemary Burke stepped down from the bench during her term.

It was his father, however, who ended up getting hired for that position.

Tim Spahr said he and his father drove to Indianapolis together for the job interview, but Robert Spahr walked away with the appointment.

“I remember during my interview they asked me why my father would make a good judge,” he recalled. “I must have given them a pretty good answer, because they gave him the position.”

Now, Tim said taking his father’s place as Circuit Court judge makes the appointment especially meaningful.

“After Dad passed, I knew this was something I wanted to do and needed to do,” he said. “I get the opportunity to finish what he wasn’t able to. That means a lot to me.”

As a first-time judge, Tim said he wants to the follow the example his father set and run an organized, efficient courtroom.

“He always brought so much energy and passion to the position,” he said. “I want to bring that same energy. I also want to make the courtroom as welcoming a place to the public as it can be, like Dad did.”

Tim earned his law degree from Indiana University in 1997. As an attorney, he focused on family law, adoptions, criminal law and estate and trust planning. He said he plans to close his practice within the next five weeks before taking the bench.

“It’s sort of a funny feeling to see a chapter of your life close,” Tim said. “I’m going to miss the attorney-client relationships I’ve developed over the years, but I’m looking forward to serving the community in this new position.”

Carson Gerber is Kokomo Tribune reporter. He can be reached by phone at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.