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Lawyer Continues to Work Full-Time at 96
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Jerome Offutt of Frederick County, Md. always begins his day at 6 a.m. He lifts weights for 30 minutes, gets his walking shoes laced up and gets his cardio in. “I set up a program that every morning I would go out and walk a mile or two.” Offutt said. Pretty incredible for a 96 year old man to do all that and still be a full-time lawyer.

  
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“It’s keeping involved in such a way that I can contribute still and rather than sit around and twiddle my thumbs,” Offutt said. His work ethics were learned on a farm where he grew up in Montgomery County. He was a child prodigy and started law school at 16 years old in Washington, D.C. after impressing the dean.

“He said if I felt that I would be able to keep my marks up, that he would certainly admit me,” Offutt said.  As a young law student he worked at what is now Safeway, during the day so he could pay his tuition of $200 dollars a year.

“I received my degree in June of 1937, and at the time, I was only 19 years old,” Offutt said. “In Maryland lawyers by law must be 21 years old so he went to work for the former Maryland Security of State David Winebrenner in his Frederick law office.

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“He said he can use an office boy, so I became his office boy,” Offutt said. “He set up my desk right up in his office, so I got to hear interviews of clients”. At 21 years old he started his own law practice at 2 East Church Street in Frederick and paid $15 dollars monthly. He later moved to West Church Street. His third move was to West 2nd street in 1964 and has been there ever since.

At 25 years old, voters elected him to the Maryland House of Delegates. Serving from 1943 to 1946 he helped to rewrite election and driving laws. “Being a farm boy, I had an opportunity to go to all these farm contacts I had made, and I ended up being one of the six delegates elected,” Offutt said.



Offutt is the oldest living former Maryland delegate. “My physician, I asked him for his advice on whether I should retire or not, and he said absolutely not” Offutt said. “Mr. Offutt is an amazing man. He’s had a career that is just unbelievable. He’s always very supportive and very knowledgeable in so many areas,” said Marty Powers, Offutt’s legal assistant.

Using his knowledge he’s started numerous organizations in Frederick County including The Goodwill and the Community Foundation of Frederick County. “He a wonderful resource to the community,” Powers said. “He stays active and still participates in rotary and many other things”.

“I try to be a leader not a follower”, Offutt said. He inspires the entire community in Frederick County and shows through his kindness and tenacity, dreams can be achieved, coming from a farm boy to a lawyer with a 75 year career.

Image Credit: Uticaod.com



 

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