The man behind the name of the Camden County Justice Center Courts Building was recognized in a recent ceremony as his portrait and memorial plaque were put on display. Wife Julie and other family and friends attended the dedication.

Born on March 24, 1948, in a rock house near where Taco Bell stands today in Camdenton, Judge James A. Franklin, Jr., was a proud native son of the Lake area who came home and served his community notably.

From humble beginnings, Franklin went on to become a driving force in the local justice system before passing away from cancer in 2006.

According to wife Julie, his first job was making candy at Blair’s Kitchen in the eighth grade, and he worked at Jack’s Sporting Goods in high school. He was a proud Laker and played center on the football team.

The work ethic he learned growing up in Camdenton would serve him and his community well over the years.

The 1966 Camdenton High School alum attended Drury College in Springfield where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1972 with degrees in A.B., Economics and Business Administration. He then went on to law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Graduating with his J.D., he was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1975.

In July 1977 he married Julie and together they raised daughters Stephanie and Andrea.

As began his life with Julie in 1977, Jim Franklin began his service as an elected official, serving as Camden County Prosecuting Attorney from 1977-78. He moved up through the system, being elected Magistrate-Probate Judge for Camden County in 1978 and serving as Associate Circuit Judge from 19797-81. He was appointed Supervisor of Liquor Control for the State of Missouri in 1981 and was appointed Circuit Judge in February 1988, followed by his election to that office in November 1990. 

He would be re-elected twice in 1994 and 2000. As Circuit Judge for the 26th Judicial Circuit, Division I, he presided over cases in five counties — Camden, Miller, Morgan, Moniteau and Laclede.

Remaining humble despite his distinguished service, he was always Jimmy to everyone, according to wife Julie.

Outside of work, he was a charter member of the Camdenton United Methodist Church. He served on the Camden County Library District Board of Trustees and on the Board of Directors of Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks. He was also a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.