The Wharton County elected officials are moving forward to name the Justice of the Peace building in East Bernard after the late Chris King, who was a commissioner for more than two decades.

King, 64, conducted business sometimes out of the JP Building, which houses the Precinct 2 JP’s office and the constable’s office.

King died July 23, but this is the first time since his death that the Wharton County Commissioners Court has spoken in a meeting about naming a building after him.

King had served since 1991 and was voted in several times, the last time in 2018.

Commissioners unanimously approved to move in that direction, although an official name for the building was not approved, nor a design.

After all the commissioners praised the work he did for his precinct, which included making foundation improvements to that very building, one official brought up perhaps naming it the “Chris King Justice Center.”

Judge Phillip Spenrath introduced the item during a September regular meeting.

“There have been informal discussions about various ways to possibly honor and remember Commissioner King for his many years of service, and the legacy of his outstanding leadership and citizenship to Wharton County,” Spenrath said. “There have been a number of suggestions of things to do.”

Spenrath said he didn’t want too much time to pass after King’s death to not bring this up before commissioners, or to at least discuss.

Longtime Maintenance Supervisor Paul Shannon was one of the employees who spoke. His father served as justice of the peace for Pct. 1 and died while in office. Eventually, the Frank Shannon Building, located at 1017 North Alabama Road in Wharton, got its name through court approval in 2003. 

Pct. 3 Commissioner Steven Goetsch said King was a driving force in many things he did for the county, including paving roads and drainage, among others.

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