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By RICK BOSTON
Staff Writer 

Historic Blair Co. Courthouse Room Dedicated to Former President Judge

 

January 16, 2020

Rick Boston

Senior Judge Jolene G. Kopriva, President Judge Elizabeth Doyle, former Blair County Commissioner Terry Tomassetti and Judge Jackie Bernard look over the renovated lawyer's lounge that was dedicated in Kopriva's honor.

Monday, Jan. 6, was a busy day at Blair County Courthouse. A packed Courtroom 1 saw the swearing-in of two new commissioners, one incumbent, and other county officials.

But before anyone took the oath of office, another ceremony took place in the recently renovated "Lawyer's Lobby," honoring Senior Judge Jolene G. Kopriva.

Kopriva, a strong supporter of the courthouse renovations, spent 30 years on the bench, retiring in 2017.

"To echo Lou Gehrig, I feel like the luckiest person on the face of this world," Kopriva told the gathering which included members of her family, county judges, state and county leaders and courthouse staff. "I have had a tremendous life here at the courthouse."

Former Blair County Commissioner Terry Tomassetti, who has been spearheading the renovations at the courthouse since 2013, said honoring Kopriva on the day the county swears in its leaders brings the past and future of Blair County together to reaffirm its dedication to public service.

"Today we acknowledge the commencement, the recommitment and the completion of those who have dedicated themselves to working for the public in Blair County," he said. "As we honor those who serve the county and witness the transfer of authority, it is appropriate we gather in this space today to honor the exemplary career of one of our own, Judge Jolene Grubb Kopriva."

Tomassetti said Kopriva's 30-year tenure as judge "embodied the commitment of the highest degree of the principal of justice."

In officially dedicating the lobby to Kopriva, Tomessetti said Kopriva's service to the county and the legacy she built helped bring the county to a new level.

"Blair County is so much better off for having been served and led by Judge Kopriva and her never-ending pursuit of justice for all," Tomassetti said. "We, the Blair County commissioners, along with the judges of this county, hereby designate this room, the former lawyers' lobby, as the Judge Jolene Grubb Kopriva Lobby."

In accepting the honor, Kopriva said serving Blair County was lifelong joy and privilege.

"I accept this very generous and thoughtful honor," she said. "It was a privilege to serve. It really enriched my life, both personally and professionally. It is humbling to receive this kind of honor."

Kopriva said her years on the bench were made easier by the people she was surrounded with.

"My years of service included great teams," she said. "I've had many statewide judges to mentor me, I've had great local teams here, including court administration and wonderful relationships with the commissioners. I've had incredible staff. We worked so hard every day together."

Kopriva said the newly restored room has "never looked better" and thanked Tomassetti for taking the lead on the renovations.

"It is a tribute to the people who have made that happen and we have to thank Terry Tomassetti for his perseverance," she said.

When restoration work on the courthouse began in 2013, Kopriva was given the honor of swinging a sledgehammer through a wall, signaling the beginning of the long road of restoring the courtroom and lawyers' lobby to its former grandeur.

Seven years after the first strike of the hammer, the room that was once a gathering place for attorneys, police officers and others with business before the court was officially named after Blair County's first female judge.

"And so shall it ever remain named," Tomassetti said.

 

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