The Texas Association of Counties and county officials from around the state are still mourning the loss of former long-time Garza County Judge Giles Dalby, who passed away on April 12 at his home in Post.
Dalby’s contributions to county government are numerous and diverse. He was well known by his colleagues and peers throughout Texas county government as a genial and caring mentor, leader and role model.
Dalby is a past-president of TAC who also chaired the County Government Risk Management Pool and TAC’s Workers’ Compensation Fund. He was a founding chair of the County Judges Education Committee. His presidency at TAC, from 1983-84, was focused on the creation of orientation programs for newly elected officials. Outside of TAC, Dalby was a past president of the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and chair of the Texas County and District Retirement System, to name just a few of his leadership roles.
“Judge Dalby was a gentleman, a statesman, and an example for us all,” said TAC Executive Director Gene Terry. “He was the Dean of County Judges, and for those of you who knew him, our leader in every sense of the word. For those who had not had the privilege of knowing him, let me say that he set the bar years ago. We are still striving to meet those standards.”
Dalby, whose 34 years as county judge made him the most experienced of all Texas county judges, was the 2004 recipient of TAC’s most prestigious honor, the Trailblazer Award, an award that honors only the most exemplary of lifetimes and careers spent in public service. At the time of the honor, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal called Dalby “legendary.”
Dalby was further recognized upon his retirement in 2006, when TAC and the Texas Judicial Academy created the Giles W. Dalby Award for Judicial Leadership, established specifically to honor Dalby’s “character, integrity and service to the judiciary, county government and community.”
"From his early days in office when he personally defended county government on the steps of the Capitol during the Constitutional Convention of 1974, he remained an active leader," said then-TAC Executive Director Sam Seale during the award’s ceremony and reception. "He has served as a role model, mentor, supporter and friend to us all and indeed, set the standard for this important public service. … We felt there would be no better way to demonstrate our deep-felt appreciation and admiration for him, than to make sure that the role he has established in his service remain a goal for county judges in the future.”
In 2009, Judge Dalby participated in a special project related to capturing TAC’s history. During the interview, he discussed his passion for public service and his retirement, among other topics.
“It took me a year to really kind of get into retirement mode. I was so busy. In fact, I think I stayed at the office on December 31, 2006 until about 6 or 6:30 trying to finish up. When I went home, I got up January 2nd and I started to do my routine to get ready to go to work; and I said, ‘I don’t got any place to go!’ It was quite a shock to me really,” Dalby said.