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Constable was committed to her job, family

February 13, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Peggy Paylor, a constable in Washington County for the past 26 years, was fondly remembered by friends and colleagues Thursday for her commitment to her job and her family.

Paylor, 54, who was found dead in her car Wednesday in the 1700 block of Edgewood Hills Circle in Hagerstown, a pile of court papers in her lap. Her death was believed to be from natural causes, Hagerstown police said.

"She was on the job, apparently going about her duties," said Dixie Scholtes, administrative district court clerk for Washington/Frederick counties and Paylor's supervisor.

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A Hancock resident, Paylor was found by a passerby who reported seeing an unconscious woman in a car in the housing development off Dual Highway around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

As an arm of district court, constables serve summonses for civil cases, evict delinquent renters, seize property to cover bad debts and attach garnishments on paychecks.

Paylor shared her duties with William C. Blair, the other full-time constable in Washington County. Together, they divided the territory, Paylor taking the northern half and Blair the southern portion of the county.

"I worked with Peggy for the five years I've been a constable," Blair said Thursday. "She was devoted to her job and to her family."

Only Washington and Baltimore counties in Maryland still have constables, Scholtes said. In all other jurisdictions, deputies perform their functions.

"We fought to keep them here because they do their jobs so well," Scholtes said Thursday.

That sentiment was echoed by R. Noel Spence, who recently retired as a judge in the Washington County District Court.

"The constable system seems to work well for us," Spence said.

He attributed some of that to Paylor's professional and personal attention to the job.

Constables carry no weapons so they must learn how to deal with people in difficult circumstances, Scholtes said.

"Peggy had the ability to defuse potentially volatile situations such as evictions, explaining things so well to people," she said.

Blair also praised Paylor, saying she went out of her way to help people by telling them whom to call for help.

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