Judge Giblin is remembered for being a strong local leader, a dedicated family man – Port Arthur News





These are just a few of the many kind words often used by local officials when speaking about the late Judge Leonard James Giblin Jr., who died of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 80 on Saturday.

“He’s been a role model and mentor to me since I was a kid,” said former Ward 2 commissioner Brent Weaver.

In fact, Weaver said, in the first year of his election, Giblin came to his house at midnight to swear it in. From that point on, Giblin was sworn in to Weaver after each re-election for the remainder of his term.

“I really cherished his friendship,” Weaver said. “He was highly respected within the community as a person and respected as an elected person. He had everyone’s respect.

Giblin was a district attorney from 1974 to 1977, then a county judge from 1977 to 2002.

“Oh what a wonderful guy,” said current District Attorney Bob Wortham. “He won the election the same year I started with the prosecutor’s office. I liked him. In fact, I really wanted to go and work for him, but he had already hired someone.

Wortham said during a campaign in 1974 he went door to door and ended up on Giblin’s doorstep.

“Until then, I didn’t know where he lived,” he said. “He was always available, and that was when we had a lot of testing. He just did a great job in court. He knew the law and he applied it.

But the law is not the only thing the husband, father and grandfather have been praised for.

“He was a great family man – not just a public servant, but a good person,” said Weaver, who had grown up as a family friend. “I have a lot of special memories with him as a kid and as an adult. He always told me how proud he was, and it felt good because I was trying to do my best in everything I did.

Even in his home office, Weaver framed photographs of the two together.

“These are very special memories for me,” he said.

The deceased judge, who will be honored with a memorial mass at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Sainte-Élisabeth Church in Port Neches, was born in Port Arthur, according to his obituary. He was married for 58 years to his wife Diane. He is also survived by his children: Gina Giblin, Julie and Blake Gauthier, Dr Leonard Giblin III, as well as his grandchildren Jake Gauthier and Claire Gauthier.

“As I grew into my adult life, I always stayed in touch with him,” Weaver said. “He was someone I could turn to for advice throughout my professional career, but also someone on a personal side that I could lean on for advice. It’s a big family.

Giblin’s arrangements are handled by Levingston Funeral Home in Port Neches.

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