Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

Judge Lin Williams retiring

Suwannee County Judge Lin Williams siting at his desk in his office during an interview with the Suwannee Valley Times. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

By Tami Stevenson

The first time Judge William “Lin” Williams appeared in the Suwannee Valley Times, it was December 1, 2010. He was featured in the newspaper’s very first edition. He had just won the election for Suwannee County Judge and had agreed to an interview.

Today, Judge Williams, after serving as Suwannee County Judge since 2011, will be retiring in January of 2023, and has graciously agreed to an interview once again.

When asked if he and his wife, Myong, planned to do much traveling now that he is retiring, he said he had traveled so much in the Marine Corps that if he never had to travel again it would be fine with him. “Although if Myong wants to go anywhere, I will gladly take her.”

Myong, sadly, has struggled with fibromyalgia for years, which limits her ability to travel.
Williams retired as a colonel after serving 31 years with the Marines, both in active and inactive duty, before coming back to Live Oak.

He and Myong’s 40th wedding anniversary is coming up this next April, that is — he says, if Myong doesn’t replace him before that.

“The thing is, if you look at my career pattern, she’s never had to live with me 24/7. When I retire, I’m going to be around 24/7. She may decide to trade me in before we hit that 40 year mark. I don’t know how she put up with me because I can’t stand being around me sometimes. To put up with me for 40 years, that’s amazing.”

Williams studied political science and American government and politics from 1973 - 1977 at the University of Florida and earned his juris doctorate at the Stetson University College of Law in 1980.

Like Williams, Judge-elect Jennifer K Griffin is also a Live Oak native.

He said he has nothing but positive things to say about her. “She’ll do a fine job. She’s very smart, very competent, very capable,” said Williams. She was the child support hearing officer when he began as judge and said it didn’t take long for him to realize what she said was class A product. He didn’t have to spend nearly as much time reviewing her work as he did some other people that he worked with. “She’s a very smart young lady. She’s so much smarter than me. I make no bones about that. I’ve got a lot of horse sense, a lot of common sense, but I’m not the most brilliant jurist around,” Williams smiled.

Judge Williams wanted to express his appreciation to the people back in 2010 that voted for him and even those that didn’t vote for him, but voted, nonetheless.

“I told people to get out and vote, even if you don’t vote for me, just get out and vote.” Alex Prins was one of his opponents at the time and said he should stop saying that and he said, “Alex, I mean it. I would rather lose with 100 percent of the people voting, than win with 30 percent of the people voting.”

He said it was because he had just returned from Iraq where they had just had their first open election where there were snipers and bombs and the people were still coming out in droves to vote. They weren’t even allowed to drive to the polling station, they were quadranting off the area. They had to leave their vehicles because they had concerns about IED’s in vehicles, so they were really having to sacrifice to go vote. Then to watch these people that had never truly had an opportunity to vote in what they believed to be an open and fair election, came out proudly showing their finger that had been dipped in ink to show they voted.

“We get the ‘I voted’ stickers, they got the purple finger! That was my last hurrah with the Marine Corps. So coming back here, I meant it when I said, even if you’re not going to vote for me, I want you to vote. It’s a little bit discouraging sometimes to see how few people vote, and we have made it so much easier to vote this year than it was in 2010 when I was elected.” He added, “Many people ask for absentee ballots but they get so few back, for example. He said it is really disappointing that so many people don’t take their right, their privilege to vote seriously.”

Williams added that although he was born and raised in Live Oak, where his grandfather, Doctor George Augustus Lee, was a dentist for approximately 50 years before retiring in the 1970’s, once he turned 18 years old, he left and vowed never to come back. But some of the very reasons why he left is what drew him back in his later years.

He said he was working as a prosecutor in Daytona Beach and saw these kids that were from good families, back when goth was big. They would leave the home dressed like mom and dad wanted them to but after they left the home they would change into their goth character and change back before they went home. Having two children of his own then, it got him to thinking. The things he disliked the most, “…like everybody being in my business and would let my parents know when I was doing something stupid, became much more appealing, so that’s why we moved back.”

He was proud to say that he and Myong became first-time grandparents last October and are looking forward to their granddaughter’s first birthday coming up in just a few weeks. He affectionately nick-named her The Mighty Quinn. They will no doubt jump for joy when his daughter, Nicole, and son-in-law, Joe Hudson, get here with their little ‘Eskimo’ to celebrate her first birthday with her grandparents.

Residing just north of Tampa, the Hudsons are currently in Durham, North Carolina where The Mighty Quinn’s daddy is playing baseball. Joe Hudson is the catcher for the Durham Bulls, a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Suwannee Valley Times, along with many of its readers, would like to thank Lin Williams for his many years of service. Not only for his years as a county judge, but for his many years of military service to our nation.