Judge Giblin remembered for being strong local leader, dedicated family man

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Great.

Wonderful.

Dedicated.

Those were some of many kind words used often by local officials as they spoke about the late Judge Leonard James Giblin Jr., who died Saturday following complications with COVID-19 at the age of 80.

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

In fact, Weaver said, the first year he was elected, Giblin came to his house at midnight to swear him in. From then, Giblin swore Weaver in after every re-election for the remainder of his time in office.

“I really cherished his friendship,” Weaver said. “He was well-respected within the community as a person, and respected as a person that was elected. He had respect from everybody.”

Giblin served as District Attorney from 1974 to 1977 and then as 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 DA’s office. I really liked him. As a matter of fact, I really wanted to go work for him but he had already hired someone.”

Wortham said during a campaign in 1974, he went door-to-door and found himself on Giblin’s doorstep.

“I didn’t know where he lived until then,” he said. “He was always available, and those were back in the days when we had lots of trials. He just did a great job in court. He knew the law and he applied it.”

But the law isn’t the only thing for which the husband, father and grandfather was praised.

“He was a great family man — not just a public servant, but a good person,” said Weaver, who had grown up as a friend of the family. “I have a lot of special memories with him as a kid and as an adult. He would always tell me how proud he was, and that made me feel good because I tried to do the best I could at everything I did.”

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

“They are very special memories to me,” he said.

The late judge, who will be honored by a memorial mass at 2 p.m. Wednesday at St. Elizabeth Church in Port Neches, was born in Port Arthur, according to his obituary. He was married for 58 years to his wife Diane. He also leaves behind his children: Gina Giblin, Julie and Blake Gauthier, Dr. Leonard Giblin III, and grandchildren Jake Gauthier and Claire Gauthier.

“As I grew up into my adult life, I always stayed in touch with him,” Weaver said. “He was someone I could go to for advice throughout my professional career, but also somebody on a personal side that I could lean on for guidance. They’re a great family.”

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