After hundreds of cases tried and 38 years in office, retiring Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Walker is ready to leave it all behind.
His career marks the longest public prosecutor tenure in Michigan. We sat down and asked how he feels about it.
"Old," said Walker. "It surprises me at times."
Walker started his career in Marquette as an assistant prosecutor in 1972. He said his curiosity led him here after reading Anatomy of a Murder, a famous novel later adapted to the big screen, filmed in the very courtroom he sees every day. Walker credits much of his success to his team that's worked with him for a number of years.
"This staff is able, dedicated and wonderful," Walker said.
Much of what made his job fulfilling, he said, is knowing he made a difference in people's lives.
"It taught me that we need to remember that what we do matters."
And those who gathered to say goodbye agree.
"He has always been very professional, very knowledgeable," said Marquette County Sheriff Michael Lovelace. "That's the thing we're going to lose here is 38 years of institutional knowledge that's going out the door, and that's really, really going to be hard to replace."
Walker's last day in office is Dec. 31. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Matt Weise will serve as the county's prosecutor until Dec. 31 of 2012 until one is chosen in the November elections.
He plans to remain active in the community, whether it's political involvement or simply lending a hand to governing officials, Walker said.