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Orphans' Court candidates want to give to community

October 19, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The five candidates for three seats as judges of the Orphans' Court share common goals - to help people and give back to the community.

Three Republicans and two Democrats are seeking the seats.

The three Republicans are Joseph Eichelberger and John Shriver, both incumbents, and Gloria Bastian. Joseph "Joe" D. Faith and Sam Tubaugh are running as Democrats.

Shriver, of Williamsport, has served as an Orphans' Court Judge since 1994, and was appointed Chief Judge in 2002.

Shriver has been a driver's education instructor for Widmyer Driving School in Hagerstown for 22 years

Shriver, 56, said he likes helping people, and has enjoyed his time with the Orphans' Court.

"I want to be remembered someday as a public servant," he said.

Shriver has attended various seminars about probating wills, which is the bulk of what Orphans' Court judges do, he said.

The Judges of the Orphans Court meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, are elected to four-year terms and make $7,000 a year. The judges settle disputes over estates and certify wills. The court also sets attorney's fees in estate matters and has jurisdiction over guardianship of minors.

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Eichelberger, 65, of Sharpsburg, was elected to the court in 2002. In 2003, he was appointed by Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Robert M. Bell to a two-year term to the Conference of Orphans Court Judges, a board of orphans court judges from across the state that advises Bell of Orphans Court matters and shares resources.

The conference gave him insight into what happens statewide and a better understanding of how to represent the people of Maryland, he said.

Eichelberger is retired from the Maryland Division of Corrections and now works part-time as a security guard for the Sheriff's Department, so he has plenty of time to serve on the bench, he said.

"As a lifelong resident of Washington County, I want to give back," Eichelberger said.

Bastian, 73, the third Republican, said she is interested in running for Orphans' Court judge because of past experience working with the public as a bookkeeper and tax preparer. She said those jobs required her to deal with sensitive and confidential material.

She also served as a guardian for her teenage nephews when her brother died suddenly 25 years ago, so she understands guardianship issues, she said.

"I feel those are qualities needed for a job in court," she said.

Bastian, of Williamsport, volunteers with The American Red Cross Disaster Team and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fleet Reserve Association.

Faith, 70, a Democrat, said he is running because he wants to be able to help elderly people.

"Elderly people that are involved with wills, maybe I could be some help," he said.

Faith, of Clear Spring, is a retired correctional officer and said he has the time to devote to the position.

Faith is a member of Mount Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fairview, AARP, the Moose Lodge, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in Mercersburg, Pa.

Faith ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 1970 and 1974. He wanted to try something new by running for Judge of the Orphans' Court, he said.

"It's still contributing to the county," he said.

Tubaugh, the other Democrat, said he can be useful, compassionate and considerate on the bench.

"I think that's what God put me down here for, to help people in a time of need," he said.

Tubaugh, 77, retired from the Air Force after 22 years, then spent 26 years as a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller. He said he would bring good, common sense to the job. He is a member of the Long Meadow Lions Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1936 and Emmanuel United Methodist Church.

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