Sedgwick County lost a dedicated public servant on Friday when District Court Judge Richard Ballinger, 62, died after a long illness. During his 22 years on the bench, Ballinger became known for his knowledge of the law and special expertise in the probate department, where he had a lengthy tenure as presiding judge, and his compassion on and off the bench for individuals in need of protection and aid. It was significant that Ballinger, who weathered an ethical lapse nearly a decade ago, served 20 years as a Democratic judge in an increasingly Republican court before drawing a challenger in 2012, then won re-election. “Life is just not just a simple right and wrong,” Ballinger told The Eagle in 2000. But he proved skillful at differentiating between the two and making decisions accordingly. – Rhonda Holman
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