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Community remembers former district, superior court judge

Lisa Blue Thacker, who retired in 2018 after 20 years of service as a district and superior court judge in southeastern and south-central North Carolina, died at her home in Anson County on Sunday.

According to Ballotpedia, Thacker spent two years in private practice after graduating from West Virginia University School of Law in 1987.

After working as an assistant district attorney from 1989 to 1997, she was first elected as a district court judge in 1998. She then served as chief district court judge from 2009 to 2014 before her election to a
superior court seat for district 16A in 2016.

Those who worked with Thacker described her as pleasant and caring, but tough as well.

“She was very professional and easy to approach,” Juvenile Court Counselor Phillip Speight said. “She always seemed to care about the people involved in the cases. She was a hard and dedicated worker.”

Guardian Ad Litem Supervisor Jon-Michael Haymond, a former juvenile court counselor, also described Thacker’s courtroom nature as caring, yet stern.

“She always struck me as being hard but fair on the juveniles in court,” he said. “She almost addressed them like a concerned mother rather than a judge.”

Haymond echoed Speight’s observation of Thacker’s approachability.

“She was very friendly and easy to work with … always smiling and happy it seemed.”

Albemarle attorney Ron Burris, who worked alongside Thacker as a district court judge, remembered her as being quite cognizant of her purpose in the courtroom while remaining engaging and amiable.

“Lisa and I worked together as fellow district court judges for a number of years; and she was keenly aware of her role in dealing with the personal conflicts and issues among the people appearing before her, especially in
Family Court cases,” Burris said. “Despite her serious demeanor on the bench, I always will remember her for having a spontaneous smile and easy laugh.”

Thacker is survived by her husband Todd, and daughter Caroline.