ILNews

Retired Putnam County judge dies

IL Staff
March 14, 2012
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Retired Putnam Superior Judge Sally Hallof Gray passed away Tuesday. She was 78.

Gray was born in Missouri and came to Indiana to teach economics at DePauw University in 1965. She earned her law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1979. Gray worked as an attorney in Vigo County before running for Putnam County judge in 1981. She was the first woman elected to a trial bench in Putnam County.

She created the Prevention, Intervention and Education Coalition and helped found the local community corrections office and the county’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program. In 1996, she established an endowment fund at the Putnam Community Foundation to support substance abuse treatment programs in the county. The Sally H. Gray Community Endowment was established in 2010, which awards grants to support the needs of Putnam County residents.

She was instrumental in establishing alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders in her community. Gray took and taught numerous courses at the National Judicial College – many on alcohol, drugs and the courts – and at the Indiana Judicial Center. In 1994, she was appointed by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy to a panel on reducing drug use in rural America.

Gray was active in the legal community, working with the Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Judicial Conference and Indiana Judges’ Association.

She retired from the county bench in December 1996, but served as a senior judge until retiring in 2004 so she could more actively fundraise for community groups, including the Putnam County Museum.

Gray was awarded the Putnam County Community Foundation’s Spirit of Philanthropy award in 2010, honored as the foundation’s first Woman Philanthropist of the Year in 2008, and named the Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 2005. She was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Gov. Evan Bayh in 1994 for her work in the community and state to combat substance abuse.

A memorial service will be held March 24 at Meharry Hall at DePauw University.

 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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