As part of Nexstar’s “Celebrating Women” series, during the month of March, KFDX & Texoma’s FOX are celebrating women in Texoma who have or continue to make an impact on the community.
She’s donned the robe, banged the gavel and married countless couples for more than 30 years.
Though some of the cases she’s tried have been more difficult than others, she continues to delight in her role, helping bring solutions to difficult issues, as well as bring couples together for the first, second or even a third time. Our first woman we celebrate is Justice of the Peace Janice Sons.
“There is no way under God’s green earth I should be in this,” Judge Sons said.
More than 30 years later though, she still is. Janice Sons has been Justice of the Peace for Precinct One, Place One since July of 1988. It would be 31 years this July 5th.
Growing up, Sons said the title of judge is something she never thought would come before Janice.
“I truly had an idyllic childhood. Wonderful parents that loved me unconditionally, but they were blue collar. There was no money. I was a single parent. There was less money as a single parent. I don’t have a college degree, so the chances of me ever being here is nil and void,” Sons said.
Despite the odds, Sons succeeded. Before being appointed JP, Sons worked for State Representative Charles Finnell and the late state Senator Ray Farabee.
“Very, very, very well respected man in our community and in our state. [He] was the top legislator in the state,” Sons said.
Senator Farabee’s son David said in addition to being an expert justice of the peace, Judge Sons was and is good friend and counselor.
“She was just a place for me to go to get encouragement and just a safe place to be. So, I’d drop by my dad’s office here in this [the Hamilton] building and just visit with her for 45 minutes and then go back out into the field as a salesperson and go through a days routine,” Farabee said.
Sons has also been recognized for her expertise with numerous awards and honors, including being named Woman of the Year by Texas Business Women, as well as serving as President of the Texas Justices of the Peace and Constables Association, bringing her recognition in judicial circles.
“She and I both have been in this long enough around the state anywhere I’m at something, I run into other justices of the peace and they ask: ‘How’s Judge Sons doing?’ She’s been a leader in her group,” Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said.
Judge Gossom thinks highly of his fellow judge down the hall. Even though they preside over different courts, they’ve become good friends and colleagues. However, it hasn’t always been smiles and cordialities.
“We have worked together for 30 years. And let me just assure you, we don’t always agree. We’ve made that very clear to each other. We do not always agree. Do we always respect each other? Absolutely,” Sons said.
Judge Gossom recalled one of those moments.
“She said: ‘You know, we need to change this thing where the other JP and I make more money. We need to have everybody make the same amount of money.’ I said: ‘That sounds great, Janice.’ She said: ‘I can’t believe you’re that easy.’ I said: ‘It’s not a problem to me. We take your salary, everybody else’s salary, add them up and divide them by five.’ She said: ‘Well, that’s not going to be good. Mine’s going to go down.’ I said: ‘I did what you asked,'” Gossom said laughing. Asked if that deal was struck, Gossom replied: “No. Oh no! Am I still alive?
Judge Sons said of course, good times come with the bad and cases have come and gone, causing her restless nights. However, what she said brings her so much joy is what she’s done a lot.
“I have married over 20,00 couples, some of those I’ve married two or three times.”
Though she’d like to stay in office another few decades, Judge Sons recognizes that probably won’t happen. One thing she does know is: “It’s been the best journey God put me on. It’s been a great life,” Sons said.
Judge Sons said she is deliberating retirement, after her term expires in 2020. But the jury is still out on that.
For more stories on more amazing women, go to https://www.texomashomepage.com/womens-history