Sep. 6—Fred Neikirk passed away on Sunday after 80 years of life. He was not only a giant in the Pulaski County legal system, as a county attorney for nearly 30 years, but he meant so much to so many local people — in and out of the legal system.
For longtime attorney Judge Katie Gregory Slone, Fred Nekirk changed the way our local courtrooms operated, and his effect on the local court system is still felt to this day.
"From what I've heard and what I have seen in other counties, there is a very antagonistic relationship between lawyers and the prosecutor — people on opposite sides of the case," Judge Slone explained. "And it was not that way at all with Fred. When you were up against him and you were representing your client and he was the county attorney, you sat down and you talked about the case. You talked about his strengths, your strengths, what his weaknesses were, and what your weaknesses were."
"He didn't want anything that was antagonistic in the county courtrooms," Judge Slone added. "Everybody got along regardless, and it wasn't selling out the clients. It was a matter of professionalism and that you could still be professional and still be on opposite sides of the case."
"And that has continued in our courtrooms today," Judge Slone reinforced. "That's why I'm so proud of Pulaski County and Rockcastle County courtrooms, because they're not antagonistic all because of Fred Neikirk."
Fred Nekirk's work in the local courtrooms may forever have a lasting effect, but the way he did his job made him so popular as a county attorney and explains his unprecedented longevity in the elite position.
"Freddy Nekirk was amazing," Judge Katie Gregory Slone stated. "He was not just our county attorney, but he was more than a county attorney. He was a community service. He tried to help as many people as he could. Whether it was related to somebody that was charged in court or if anybody needed anything, they called Fred."
"He had an open door policy, and that's unusual nowadays," Judge Slone stated. "We've kind of got used to having to schedule appointments to meet with people and to be honest with you, I don't know how he got anything done because he would see every person that just walked into his office. He didn't turn people away. In his own personal office, there were times when there might be five or six people, for different reasons, sitting in his office with him and him behind the desk."
Fred Neikirk, in some form or fashion, probably molded and shaped almost all of the lawyers, judges, and law enforcement officers in our local area.
"He was also a mentor to so many people, including me," Judge Slone added. "So many of our lawyers, when I first started practicing law, Fred was the county attorney. So if they represented anybody on the traffic or criminal docket, they were practicing with Fred. I know he was also a mentor to his officers, because the strength of his cases relied upon the way the officers did their citations and their arrests. He protected his officers anyway he could, and then he would also teach them and train them."
Fred Nekirk had many great attributes, but one of his greatest attributes was his friendships to the people of Pulaski County.
"One of the best things about Freddy was that so many people in this county, and other counties, called him 'friend'," Judge Slone commented. "He was a friend to so many people and the thing about it was that nobody called him Mr. Neikirk. Everybody has always called him Fred or Freddy. He was a dear friend to so many people. In fact, whenever my son was born, our very first outing was to go to Fred's office, so Fred could see my newborn son Tyler."
There will never be another County Attorney like Fred Neikirk.
There will never be another attorney, or judge, that will do so much of the local court system than Fred Nekirk.
There will never be another friend better than Fred Nekirk.
There will never be another man like Fred Neikirk.