Pretlow gets GOP nod for Clerk post

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

A candidate for the office of Clerk of the Court, T. Kirk Pretlow, has the endorsement of Suffolk’s Republican Party officials. He is the first candidate to garner support from a political party for the usually non-partisan office.

A local Attorney, Hubert Young, a former Republican Party Chairman, said the Repub-licans are extremely enthusiastic about their candidate.


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&uot;Kirk Pretlow won the unanimous endorsement of the party in Suffolk, and we had numerous phone calls saying they would like to see him serve as clerk of the court,&uot; said Young. &uot;It is unusual to get phone calls like that. Many people, including myself, were there Monday night (at the meeting) simply to support Kirk. If the enthusiasm is any indication… boy, he’s got it (the clerk’s position).&uot;

T. Kirk Pretlow, 51, is one of Suffolk’s native sons. A 1970 graduate of John Yeates High School, Pretlow earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1974 from the University of Richmond. He read law under the tutelage of his brother, attorney Joshua Pretlow. The studies were done under the standards prescribed by the Virginia State Bar Association.

For the past 23 years, Pretlow as been involved in real estate transactions, however, he’s also served as a criminal defense attorney. He often provides &uot;pro bono&uot; services for those who cannot afford the services of an attorney. He also handles civil law cases.

&uot;I’ve probably had more contact with the clerk’s office than most attorneys,&uot; said Pretlow. &uot;I’ve done divorce work, name changes and partition suits, and I’m familiar with what goes on in the clerk’s office. I’ve been over there almost on a daily basis and I’m familiar with the personnel there.&uot;

Pretlow comes from a family of attorneys in the law firm of Pretlow and Pretlow, P.C. on N. Main Street. In fact, Young said the Pretlow family has a tradition of service similar to that of the Godwin family.

&uot;His family is well known for dedication to community service and for their legal services,&uot; said Young. &uot;One of his great strengths is that he has both civil and criminal law background, and he’s already experienced in all phases of what the clerk of the court does in the performance of his duties.&uot;

As for Pretlow’s involvement with the clerk’s office, he served as general receiver for circuit court for the City of Suffolk from 1985 to 2000, at which time he relinquished his duties back to the Clerk of the Court Henry Murden, who retires with the November election. Pretlow also served for 10 years as the commissioner in chancery for the Circuit Court of the City of Suffolk. Both those positions require endorsement from the judicial community.

&uot;My 23 years of law practice has involved a great deal of filing a variety of suits, and I feel I can fill the position well,&uot; said Pretlow. &uot;I believe my legal background and my daily interaction with personnel in the clerk’s office gives me an advantage of having a shorter learning curve than others would have for the position.&uot;

Pretlow’s law firm was &uot;Pretlow, Eason, and Pretlow, P.C.&uot; up until Jan. 1, 2003. The firm lost noted attorney Ward Eason when he was appointed Circuit Court Judge for the 5th Judicial District.

A member of the Virginia State Bar since 1980, Pretlow is a past president of the Suffolk Bar Association.

Like his parents, Betty C. Pretlow and the late Joshua Pretlow, Kirk Pretlow is faithful to Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church where he’s served as a Sunday school superintendent, secretary of the administrative board, and secretary/treasurer of the United Methodist Men during the 50 years of his membership.

He is also a member of the Chuckatuck Ruritan Club and he has 22-years of perfect attendance. He served the Nansemond River High School Athletic Boosters as past president for seven years, and up until age 40, he was a member of the Suffolk Jaycees. He left the organization due to the age limitation, just as all Jaycees are required to do. He is a past coach for the SYAA and a former scoutmaster for Chuckatuck Troop 25 Boy Scouts.

Eason and his wife of 26-years, Patricia Rowe Pretlow, a guidance counselor at John Yeates Middle School, share their lives with a son and daughter, T. Justin Pretlow, 23, a college graduate who is a tutor for Suffolk Public Schools, and Lila Kirk Pretlow, 19, a rising junior at James Madison University.

Pretlow is the fourth candidate to announce for the office of clerk of the court. The first was W. Randolph Carter Jr., an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Suffolk. He announced his candidacy Jan. 20th, just after Court Clerk Henry C. Murden, 83, announced his retirement plans.

Barbara Xenakis Gayle, a resident of Sadler Heights, announced March 8th, that she was seeking the clerk’s seat. She is an assistant to Portsmouth’s chief deputy Commonwealth’s attorney.

Johnnie F. Edwards announced his candidacy in April. He is a 48-year old native of Suffolk, currently employed as an assistant principal at S.P. Morton Middle School in Franklin.