Kim Kohn, Grant County Clerk of Courts, died in the early morning hours of June 19 from the affects of leukemia.
Kohn was elected Clerk of Courts in November 2010, after spending the previous 13 years as a deputy in the department. Her move to the elected head of the office meant overseeing the staff of eight, which duties included handling files for the average of 11,000 cases that pass through the two circuit courts in the county every year.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2009, and then with leukemia in December 2012. She had undergone a bone marrow transplant earlier this year to fight the illness.
“Her talents, experience, infectious smile and booming laugh will be greatly missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing her,” said Judge Robert VanDeHey of Kohn. “She faced these challenges with unbelievable courage and dedication to her office. While in the hospital she insisted that the state provide her with computer access so she could continue to monitor and manage the office.”
Chief Deputy Clerk Jan Udell postponed her retirement to assist in running the office while Kohn went through treatment, and VanDeHey remarked it was remarkable that the office was able to function without missing a beat.
“It’s a testament to Kim, Udell and the rest of the clerks that the office performed so well under difficult circumstances. We are all deeply saddened, but also inspired by Kim’s resolve.”
It will be up to the two Circuit Judges to appoint a successor who will serve out the remainder of Mrs. Kohn’s term, with the next election taking place in November of 2014.
In a past interview when she was completing her first year as Clerk of Courts, Kohn said it just clicked for her to be in the Clerk of Courts office. “I got here, I loved it, and I stayed,” Kohn said. She started in small claims, then moved up to criminal court. “Once I got here and realized all the different facets of the job, I found it very challenging. There was always room to move up, there was always something new to learn, and I thought it was a good fit for me.”
While she liked different parts of the job - such as working with the judges and attorneys - Kohn really liked helping the public. “I like the opportunity to help the public with whatever it is they have to do,” Kohn said. “A lot of the people who come to this office are facing some sort of challenge. For some, someone owes them some money and they need to file small claims, and they don’t know where to start. They may be charged with a crime, and they are not sure of the process, so I find it rewarding, as an office, to be able to help the public and show them ways to make whatever situation they are in a little easier, or easier to understand.”
Kohn also stated that she really liked being in the courtroom, and was always pushing to be in there when she could.
Kohn was a native of Belmont. She and her husband lived in Platteville.