The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 14, 2013

Charles Woodroof sworn in as new probate judge

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— After 17 years of donning a suit and tie and practicing probate law as a family attorney, Charles C. Woodroof slipped on a black robe Sunday as the new Limestone County probate judge.

Woodroof, 46, took the oath of office in front of an overflow crowd in the Clinton Street annex commission chambers Sunday afternoon.

He ran unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election after defeating City Municipal Judge Don Mansell in the Republican primary in March.

“Biggest thing I can say is growing up in Limestone County (is) you’re told your whole life that Limestone County’s the smallest county in the state,” he said. “And it is, land area-wise. But when you go to campaign countywide, it’s a big county.

“Everybody got behind our exciting, energetic campaign from day one last January. We ran hard through the primary. Thankfully we didn’t have opposition in the general election in November but it wouldn’t have been possible without all of them.”

Woodroof takes office today and replaces Stan McDonald, who was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley in May 2011. Prior to McDonald, Mike Davis had served as probate judge from 1982 until 2011.

The probate judge is the county’s chief election officer and works closely with the general public in handling domestic matters, such as wills, marriage licenses or adoption.

“If people need something, they can come knock on the door, sit down with the probate judge and get direction, whether they’re getting a marriage license, adopting a child, going through a family situation of a mentally ill family member or an elderly family member that’s incompetent or incapacitated that needs a guardian or conservatorship or probating a will,” said Woodroof, who has two sons, Foster and Johnston, with his wife Genie. “Lots of times, unfortunately, death in a family brings out sides that people have never seen. And being able to bring a sense of experience to that position having practiced in this court for about 16 1/2 years, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help people in this office.”

—The News Courier intern Rebecca Croomes contributed to this report.