A legacy memorialized

Jay Rish, his sister Cathy, partially obscured, and their mother, Carol Rish, unveil the plaque,
Debbie Hooper at joebay.com
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11:09 AM.

Billy Joe Rish hung his law shingle out at Fourth Street and U.S. Highway 98 50 years ago this year.

On Monday, Rish’s legacy to the community and region was memorialized by family, friends and local officials.

The William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Memorial Parking Lot was officially dedicated on Monday in a ceremony celebrating the life of one of the community’s giants, who despite being small of stature left behind a huge shadow when he passed in 2008.

“There are not many people in this community who have made the impact he has,” said Tom Gibson, Rish’s long-time law partner. “He established his office on this spot 50 years ago. This is where his heart was, even after we moved (to another location). This is where the major accomplishments over a lifetime of them occurred.

“His life was about public service. He was always looking out for the best for us.”

Rish, born in Wewahitchka in 1932, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and later earned his law degree from the University of Florida.

He passed the bar in 1962, setting up his office in Port St. Joe where the parking lot now sits, where he practiced until the office was moved to Marina Square in 2005.

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