Judge pays tribute to Art Decker
I would like to thank the family of Art Decker for sharing him with so many members of the community over the years. No words can adequately cover this man’s life but I would like to make a few comments about his public service. Art died recently and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Art was a U.S. Navy veteran and extremely proud of that all his life. He would frequently send me — and many others I believe — photos of majestic-looking ships or America’s troops in perfect formation. Art had the knack of finding the most unique shots one could imagine.
His sense of humor was priceless. Few people may know that he served as a room clerk-bailiff for our Night Court sessions here in Circuit Court No. 1. Cases on that docket were sometimes hotly contested. It didn’t take Art long to learn the practices of the Court and to become very helpful in moving the cases along. He was always courteous and professional.
Art’s sense of timing was near perfect. In Night Court, Art would sometimes feign to be dropping the file on the floor, with all the papers slipping out on the floor. While parties and onlookers watched, Art would slowly pick up the file documents and place them back in the file, piece by piece. I could observe the litigants at the tables watching him and getting a much-needed breather from the heat of the moment. A couple of them would smile on occasion at that poor man who dropped the file. After a time or two, I realized this was no accident.
Art’s actions were intended to provide moments of calm in the midst of sometimes emotional, heated family law disputes of visitation and the like. He had the innate wisdom to know that the people at the tables needed a breather. Once the file was put back together, the people in the hearing proceeded in a little more relaxed mode.