Chief Justice Paul Newby Honored Ola M. Lewis at Courthouse Dedication Ceremony
Today, Chief Justice Paul Newby spoke at the Judge Ola M. Lewis dedication ceremony at the Brunswick County Courthouse in Bolivia, North Carolina. Newby recognized Judge Lewis's many court-related innovations such as the drug, mental health, and DWI treatment courts that she helped establish in Brunswick County. Newby also recognized Judge Lewis's role as a pioneer in the Judicial Branch by being the longest serving woman trial judge in North Carolina history.
"When you think about why you would rename a courthouse, you want to rename it after someone whose whole life was dedicated to impacting people in a positive way," said Newby at the ceremony. "Do justice, embrace kindness, and walk humbly with our God. Doesn’t that just describe Judge Lewis?"
During Judge Lewis's career, she served as the youngest North Carolina district court judge and was appointed by Governor Hunt to serve as a Special Superior Court Judge where she traveled a 21 county circuit. Judge Lewis remained on the bench until her death in December 2019 serving a total of 19 years.
In November 2020, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution renaming the Brunswick County Courthouse in Judge Lewis's honor, a rare distinction for a North Carolina trial court judge. Today's ceremony featured the unveiling of a plaque in the courthouse rotunda honoring Judge Lewis, and after the ceremony, a new courthouse sign was unveiled by Judge Lewis's mother, Doris Lewis.