It’s fitting that so many wonderful lawyers and mediators are here.

It’s fitting that this event is being held in a winery.

My comments are going to tell you what each of you already know: Gay’s career has been devoted to assisting families in crisis and the dysfunction that accompanies crisis.

We are honoring Gay not just as a judge, but for a career centered on children and families, as:

A social worker

A family law attorney

VCSC’s family law facilitator

A private mediator

A family law commissioner

A family law judge

A dependency court judge

In all of that, I have never met anyone so in love with the law, not as a power play, not as a technician, but as a person who loves what the law can do to resolve disputes, to remedy wrongs, to bring peace. In the hands of someone so caring, so devoted and so concerned about the best possible result, the law works at its best.

So, on behalf of all the dysfunctional families of Ventura County, on behalf of the children of Ventura County, thank you for your good works.

I have always assumed, without knowing, that Gay did this because she was blessed by the family she was able to go home to.

I can’t believe Gay is retiring; that’s impossible. She’s the least “retiring” person I know. She is energetic, decisive, direct, no-nonsense – but not “retiring.”

When the moment came to offer Gay the job as family law commissioner, I had to call her in Nairobi Kenya. So, I’ll end with a piece of wisdom: If you want to talk to Gay after her retirement, be prepared to call long distance.

Hon. Jack Smiley is Supervising Family Law Judge of The Ventura Superior Court.

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