James P Henke

James P Henke

Death 28 Nov 2008 (aged 61)
Burial Hicksville, Sacramento County, California, USA
Memorial ID 42807091 · View Source
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Judge James P. Henke, 61, died at his home in Galt on Dec. 28, 2008.

A native of Guymon, Okla., he had lived in the Galt area since 1957 and had retired as a Superior Court Judge after 32 years.

Surviving are his wife of 20 years, Lynda Henke of Galt; children, James (Cherie) Henke, Jr., of Galt, Catheryn (Anthony) O'Grodnick of Lodi, Callie (Justin) Conroy of Maryland and Caroline Henke of Galt; stepchildren, Maryanne Henke of Sacramento, Elizabeth (Russ) Garcia of Galt and Christie Henke of Berkeley; grandchildren, A.J. O'Grodnick, Hunter and Seth Henke, and William Daniel Conroy; brothers, John Henke of Galt and Clayton (Cindy) Henke of Thornton; nieces, Heather (Shawn) Farmer and Amy (Ryan) Radford

Judge James Henke presided as the judge of the Elk Grove-Galt Judicial Court for much of his career until the state closed local offices in 2002 in an attempt to save money. Former judge fought for local courts.

By Rachael Ackerman-Herald Editor
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:10 PM CST

Many know him simply as Judge Henke, the fairest shake in the valley and always in cowboy boots, and now Galt will say goodbye to its beloved judge of many years, James Henke, who lost his battle with cancer on Sunday night.

Diagnosed with cancer only a few months ago and in treatment, Lynda Henke, Jim's wife of 20 years, told The Galt Herald that her husband had suffered from a blood clot that claimed his life while at home on Dec. 28.

Henke, an avid crusader for local courts and local justice, arrived in Galt as a teen, graduating from Galt High School in 1965. Very familiar with the area already, Henke was a natural fit for an area judge when he was first sworn in on Jan. 1, 1977 at the age of 29. At that time, talk of consolidating the south county courts had begun, as did Henke's 25-year battle to keep Galt, Elk Grove, Isleton and Walnut Grove courtrooms open, an effort Henke continued even after local courts were closed in 2002, and even after his retirement from the courts in 2007.

Before beginning his career as a judge, he was a hearing officer for the state and was a partner in the law firm of LaSalle & Henke from 1975 to 1983. He received his Associate of Arts degree from San Joaquin Delta College in 1968, a Bachelor of Science degree from CSUS in 1970 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1974, appearing on the Dean's List at all three schools.

When the courts became the South Sacramento Municipal Courts, Henke was the presiding judge and, in 2000, he was reassigned as a Superior Court judge.

Henke retired from the courts on May 31, 2007, but remained a part of an assigned judge program, traveling throughout the state to fill in where his services were needed.

Known for his straightforward dealings in the courtroom and his outspoken condemnation of closing local courts, Henke had another trademark, that of wearing his cowboy boots.

Many believed the boots came from the fact that Henke and his wife of 20 years, Lynda, owned a 75-acre ranch on Arno Road between Galt and Elk Grove, with 65 acres in grapes, but truth be told there was a far more sentimental reason for the boots.

Henke shared the story of how his father had given him a new pair of cowboy boots from Texas and asked him to wear them for his first trial. Unfortunately, Henke's dad passed away just two days before he was sworn in as an attorney on Dec. 15, 1974. In tribute to his dad, Henke wore cowboy boots from then on.

Upon retirement, Henke had planned to work his ranch and continue the fight to restore local courts. He said he was looking forward to spending time with his family.

A funeral service was held on Monday, Jan. 5 at 10 a.m. at the Littleton Community Center, located at 410 Civic Drive in Galt. Interment will follow at the Hicksville Cemetery, 10035 Arno Road. Memorial donations may be made to www.caringbridge.org or to the American Cancer Society.

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  • Created by: John Hill
  • Added: 7 Oct 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 42807091
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James P Henke (28 May 1947–28 Nov 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42807091, citing Hicksville Cemetery, Hicksville, Sacramento County, California, USA ; Maintained by John Hill (contributor 47167945) .