A special thanks for so many years of public service
Next month, a special group of elected officials will leave their county offices, having truly helped shape Collin County, past, present -- and for years to come -- during their time in public service.
Whether they are moving on to a well-deserved retirement or new careers in the private sector, we wanted to pass on our sincere thanks for their leadership and influence during their years in office. Those years in office add up to more than a century of service.
John R. Roach, District Attorney
John Roach has served the county for two full terms as Criminal District Attorney since 2003 but his work here began long before that. In 1981, after four years as a prosecutor in Dallas County and a few years in solo practice, Mr. Roach was elected as judge of the 199th District Court in Collin County, where he presided over the bench for 17 years.
He also served as Justice on Texas’ 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas – the first judge from Collin County to do so – from 1997 until 2001. Among his many accolades over the past few decades, Mr. Roach received the 2008 Lone Star Prosecutor Award from the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.
John Barry, County Court at Law Judge
Judge Barry has served 23 years as Judge in County Court at Law No. 3, taking the bench in 1987 after being appointed to the court by County Commissioners. He has been re-elected five consecutive times after that. Judge Barry got his law degree from SMU in 1976 and practiced law in Dallas until 1978 when he joined a McKinney law firm. He was the Collin County Bar Association President in 1981-82, and served a s a municipal judge in McKinney from 1983-1986.
Hannah Kunkle, District Clerk
Hannah Kunkle’s work in the District Clerk’s office began in 1971 as a deputy clerk, shortly after Collin County received its first full-time district court, the 199th. Before that, Collin “shared” a district court with Grayson County. Ms. Kunkle is the longest-serving District Clerk in county history, having served six, four-year terms, beginning in January 1987.
She’s watched over an office that transformed from noisy typewriters and hand-written index ledgers of courts cases to seamless electronic case filing, plus the digital imaging of old court cases dating back to the county’s creation in 1846.
Jerry Hoagland, County Commissioner, Pct. 2
During his 30 years as County Commissioner of Precinct 2, Commissioner Jerry Hoagland played a direct role in many projects that changed the way we live in Collin County – for the better: creation of the county’s Adventure Camp in Anna, a 427-acre outdoor education facility for area kids; the county’s partnership with Frisco, Frisco ISD and Hunt Sports Group to build Pizza Hut Park; formation of the county’s Substance Abuse program; and, most of all, the creation of the Collin County Community College District.
His public service won’t stop when he leaves office: he’s currently working on starting a jail ministry.
Kathy Ward, County Commissioner, Pct. 4
County Commissioner Kathy Ward is no stranger to county politics, having been the first woman to chair her party in this area. But in the summer of 2008 she accepted an appointment to fill the shoes of the late Jack Hatchell, and then won an election to fill the remaining two years of his unexpired term.
During that time, Ms. Ward took a crash course in helping run county government, wading into important local and regional transportation issues, tax abatement policy revisions, the county budget, and services for mental health programs.