After 25 Years, Prosecutor Chip Thullbery Retires

Colleagues say goodbye to chief prosecutor in state attorney's office.


CHIP THULLBERY, left, chief assistant state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit, shares a laugh with Bartow Attorney David Carmichael during Thullbery's retirement party at the Polk County History Center Thursday. Thullbery retired after 25 years with the State Attorney's Office.

MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 11:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 11:58 p.m.

BARTOW | Chip Thullbery, who's been State Attorney Jerry Hill's chief prosecutor for 25 years, bid adieu to his colleagues Thursday as he moved into retirement.

Facts

"I've certainly enjoyed working with the people in the office and with Jerry, but I'm also excited about getting on with the next chapter in my life."

CHIP THULLBERY

"I've certainly enjoyed working with the people in the office and with Jerry," he said, "but I'm also excited about getting on with the next chapter in my life."

And what will that involve?

"More of the same things I'm doing now," he said, "without work getting in the way."

Thullbery, a lifelong bachelor who turned 60 on Thursday, said he plans to sleep beyond the 4 a.m. alarm that's governed his life for more than three decades, and he's looking forward to volunteer work and indulging his passion for cooking.

Even as Hill wished his friend well Thursday during a reception in Thullbery's honor, he said he's going to miss his counsel.

"He's been a great friend," Hill said. "He's never been one who's been quick to offer advice, but if you needed it and asked for it, you always received a straightforward answer.

"He's always been the voice of reason that has brought a lot of stability to the office over the years."

A Lake Wales native, Thullbery received his bachelor's and law degrees from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., before taking a job in 1977 as a law clerk at the Lakeland-based 2nd District Court of Appeal. Five years later, then-State Attorney Quillian Yancey brought him into the prosecutor's office. Thullbery handled felony cases until 1986, when, working under Hill as the new state attorney, he joined a grand jury investigation that led to the resignation of then Polk County Sheriff Dan Daniels.

"He's very thorough and very good at research," said Hill, who promoted Thullbery to chief assistant state attorney in 1987.

In that position, Thullbery has handled administrative duties in the office, assisted with grand jury investigations, recruited new lawyers and worked with the media providing information about criminal cases.

Now, he's looking forward to volunteering more at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Lake Wales, where he serves on the church's board, and with the YMCA, where he's chairman of the endowment committee.

[ Suzie Schottelkotte can be reached at suzie.schottelkotte @theledger.com or 863-533-9070. ]

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