PINETOP-LAKESIDE — The afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 16 there was an open house at the Pinetop-Lakeside Justice Court. Friends and community members stopped by to offer well wishes and thank yous to the Hon. David Widmaier who is retiring from his elected position as justice of the peace for the District 6 court after 20 years of service.
Navajo County Board of Supervisor Vice Chairman Dawnafe Whitesinger presented Widmaier with a plaque from the county in appreciation for his service from November 2000 to March 2021.
Though he is officially retiring from his justice of the peace position, he will continue to serve the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside as its magistrate. He was appointed as town magistrate in 2002 and has been re-appointed consistently since that time. He will also occasionally act as a visiting judge for the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
“I owe a great deal to my dear friends on the Reservation who worked hard to get me elected and keep me elected,” stated Widmaier.
Widmaier grew up in Phoenix and following high school joined the US Marine Corp at the end of the View Nam War. He graduated from Glendale Community College and Northern Arizona University in 1979 and moved to Pinetop in 1980 to work as a reporter and photographer for the White Mountain Independent. He went to Wales in 1986 to complete the first of his two master’s degrees through an Ambassadorial Scholarship from the White Mountain Rotary Club. He is now a past president of the group.
After returning to Pinetop in 1987, he opened a small business and joined Northland Pioneer College as an associate faculty.
“I decided to run for JP in 2000 at the recommendation of retiring Judge Ryan Reinhold. Ryan is a dear friend who felt I had the demeanor and background that well suited the position of justice of the peace. Ryan became my mentor in the position and I owe a great deal to him for my career,” stated Widmaier.
Widmaier said that in his career with the justice system he enjoyed working with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
“In my third year as a judge, the Arizona Judicial College asked me to be a mentor judge and faculty member,” stated Widmaier, in an email response to the Independent. “So, for the next 17 years I spent three weeks each winter at New Judge’s Orientation working with newly elected Justices of the Peace and Magistrates. Consequently, the AOC appointed me to a number of committees over the years, including spending 11 years on the Arizona Judicial Council which is the highest committee in the State. I was elected to the position as president of the Arizona Justice of the Peace Association five times and so enjoyed working with all my colleagues. As one last activity, I am currently president of the National Judges Association and will complete that term this summer.”
Inquiring as to what he plans to do in retirement after such a long, busy and successful career, Widmaier replied, “I view retirement as another chapter in the short book we call life.”
Widmaier is also a member of the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus. He and his wife Marla reside in Pinetop.