LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — She said she wasn’t going to cry.
But the kind words spoken and large turnout of people who have been involved in Lillie Cornett Yaden’s 30-plus year career with the Laurel County Circuit Clerk’s Office prompted some tears from more than just Yaden.
Laurel District Judge Wendell “Skip” Hammons had to choke back tears as he talked about how Yaden had steered him through the court docket when he first took office.
“I had to depend on Lillie to tell me what to do,” Hammons said. “But I knew when Lyla (Yaden’s granddaughter) came along, my days were numbered. I’ve enjoyed working with you, I’ll miss you and I wish you the best.”
Yaden’s career as the district court clerk spans a history of five different judges over 30 years. Two former district judges were present on Monday to honor Yaden for her help and professionalism.
London attorney Robert Dyche was the district judge when Yaden began working in the circuit clerk’s office.
“The relationship between the judge and the bench clerk is invaluable,” Dyche said. “Lillie started as my bench clerk and she was always professional and efficient.”
John Knox Mills, former district and circuit judge, seconded Dyche’s statements.
“I was appointed as district judge when Judge (Roderick) Messer went to the circuit court judgeship,” Mills said. “I didn’t know as much as I probably needed to, and Lillie was the bench clerk. There was a full courtroom my first day and she told me how to get through the docket. There were times I had to ask her, ‘What do I do next?’”
Laurel County Circuit Clerk Roger Schott also praised Yaden, who has been the chief deputy for the circuit clerk’s office for several years.
“She has served as chief deputy in her role as district bench clerk and has had a hands on role in the court system,” Schott said. “She has served under five different judges and sat with 30 different judges over her career. She has always been a guiding hand for them in the courtroom.”