Judge S. Dwight Osterud stood in the back of the courtroom he ruled for 24 years Monday and watched Molly Mack get sworn in to replace him.
Just after Judge Mack was sworn in, 6th District Court of Appeals Judge James Jensen thanked Judge Osterud for his many years of service to the law. Judge Osterud, still standing in the back, received a long standing ovation from elected officials, judges, and area law enforcement officers.
“What a wonderful role model,” Judge Jensen said about Judge Osterud.
Sitting as Perrysburg Municipal Court judge since 1990, Judge Osterud retired at the end of the year and said he is excited to travel with his wife, Judy Reitzel. They plan to visit Florida this month and California in May.
He won’t be a stranger to the court though. He will be a visiting judge when Judge Mack is at seminars or on vacation. He will continue working with the Law and Government Explorer post that he helped set up in 2001.
That program helps high school students learn court and government functions and puts on mock trial competitions. “It is a great program,” Judge Osterud said, fighting away tears to talk about his favorite program. “We stay in touch. It is heartwarming to see kids mature and become a success.”
What won’t he and his wife miss? Wake-up calls at 3 a.m. for search warrants that Judge Osterud said could take 30 minutes to two hours.
“It ruins your day,” he said.
He also said the worst part of being judge was seeing the viciousness of domestic violence and the sadness involved in seeing a family get torn apart. Accidental homicides and the impact on the family were “very heart rendering,” he said.
“I learned to compartmentalize,” he said. “Judge Mack will lose some sleep. But it is not that you get used to it, but you understand what is going on better. You come to a realization that some things you can do something about, and some you can’t. You can’t worry about what you can’t help.”
Other advice for Judge Mack: Take it one day at a time. He added, “She will do fine.”
Judge Mack was elected for the six-year term as judge for a court that includes in its jurisdiction the cities of Perrysburg, Rossford, and Northwood; Perrysburg, Lake, and Troy townships, and the villages of Luckey, Millbury, Stony Ridge, and Walbridge.
She said of her predecessor: “He demonstrated being a leader for 24 years and a mentor for me the past six weeks. I look forward to attempt to try to fill in his shoes.”
Judge Osterud loved the Perrysburg community, especially when they rallied around his family after the fire at his home Sept. 9, 2010.
While hating to see families in crisis, Judge Osterud said helping those families was “absolutely” the best part of his job, particularly when changes meant not seeing offenders in court again.
“Nothing lasts forever. I’m very satisfied with what I’ve done,” he said. “I feel like I am going out on top.”