On November 13, Washburn will be retiring from the position. He says his time at the lake has been well worth it and feels it has been a wholly unique career.
Judge William Washburn has been at the lake for most of his life. His family settled originally in Gravois Mills and eventually moved to Versailles in the 1920s, where he would end up spending his childhood. After graduating from Versailles High School, he moved on to Mizzou where he would drop out and move on to work at a bank. This didn’t last long, as Washburn would go back to school at Central Missouri and finished with a degree in accounting.
Washburn would take some time in his life to work in the military, and after finishing his service, would attempt to utilize his accounting degree with a new career. He ended up moving to Kansas City where he would attend law school. With his career path now set, he moved through smaller court jobs and eventually would start practicing law on his own.
“When you move to a small town, that’s what you have to do,” Washburn said. “I had to get my face out there.”
In 1989, Washburn began his work as Osage Beach Municipal Division judge, where he says he would service around 600-800 cases a year. At the same time, he was also working as judge in Eldon from 1988 to 2003, working on a similar amount of cases. He estimates that he was working over 1,000 cases a year between the two. Washburn would also take time to work in Lake Ozark court around the year 2014. His Osage Beach Court Clerk Michelle Taylor says that he has worked on over 52,000 Osage Beach cases alone in his nearly 30 years of service.
On November 13, Washburn will be retiring from the position. He says his time at the lake has been well worth it and feels it has been a wholly unique career. He credits much of his early time in Kansas City as a basis for what kind of judge and lawman he became. He says he has worked a number of interesting and memorable cases throughout the years, though couldn't pinpoint any specific that stood out the most.
He says that the area has continued to produce great seminars and gatherings of law personnel to continue his education and feels that he has learned something new every year on the job. With constantly evolving laws and ways of the world, he’s thankful that the lake has attracted such prominent law figures to bounce ideas off of one another and develop the lake courts.
Overall, between Osage Beach, Eldon and Lake Ozark, Washburn says he is appreciative of the help he has had along the way over 30 years. He says having the help of Taylor, among other clerks and assistants, has kept him in line and made him a better judge.
“I learned a long time ago that the best way to be respected by people, is to look them straight in the face, talk to em, don’t raise your voice and let them give their say,” Wahburn said. “The main thing is to let them be somebody and be respected.”