Caskey seeks local judge's seat

Thursday, July 25, 2002

OREGON COUNTY -- Ray Lee Caskey is seeking the Oregon County associate judge's position. He was born at home in the little town of Hume, M0,, on Feb. 24, 1940. He graduated in a class of 18 from Hume High School in 1968. In summers while he went to college, he worked in a coal mine and became a member of the United Mine Workers of America. His bachelor of arts degree was awarded by Central Missouri State University at Warrensburg in 1962, where he was on the dean's list every semester, belonged to several honorary organizations, was on the Student Supreme Court, was elected to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and was a member of Acacia.

At the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, Caskey studies, which he pursued by listening because his vision is too poor to read, were assisted by tapes readers made of his textbooks. One reader was Jeri Leigh Hibler, who came to know Caskey as his reader and later became his wife. Caskey was an honor student and editor of the Missouri Law Review. His degree of doctor of jurisprudence was awarded in 1965. Two days before he graduated from law school, he married Hibler in the First Baptist Church of Clinton, Mo. For two years right out of law school, Caskey worked for the California Department of Water Resources in the office of the department's chief counsel. He was admitted to the state bar of California in January 1966.

In September 1967, Caskey was admitted to the Missouri Bar. He and Jeri Leigh chose Oregon County as their home. Caskey transferred his memberships to the Alton First Baptist Church and Masonic Lodge #255, became a member of the Alton Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Alton Rotary Club.

Ray Lee helped incorporate the first sheltered workshop in this area, Ozark Sheltered Industries at Pomona, and was its first vice president. He then went on to help incorporate the Oregon County Sheltered Workshop and served on its tax board. He contributed his time and effort to serve on the Oregon County Board of the American Cancer Society and to serve on the board as second vice-president of Ozark Area Care and Counseling. He is a charter member of the Alton-Thayer Elks Club and a charter member of the Alton Lions Club.

Caskey is a member of the Chancellor's Advisory Board of Southwest Missouri State University West Plains. This past year, he was a member of the Supreme Court Commission on the Courts and the Disabled.

For 24 years, Caskey has served as city attorney for Alton, interrupted only by the years of his judgeships. And by the end of this year, he will have served as Oregon County prosecuting attorney 15 years.

In 1978, Caskey became Oregon County's magistrate and probate judge, and in 1979, with the Judicial Reform Act, he became Oregon County's first associate circuit and probate judge. Later he was appointed juvenile judge. Most recently he was 37th Judicial Circuit Judge.

The Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals in a decision in the Southwestern Reporter referrred to Ray Lee Caskey as "a careful trial judge who has the respect of this court." Not a single judicial decision of Judge Caskey's has ever been reversed on appeal.

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