Respected retiring probate judge hears last case in Mahoning Co.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Retiring Judge Denny Clunk hung up his robe for the last time Thursday after over 31 years serving in a quarter of Ohio’s county probate courts.

He was honored after hearing his last probate case in Mahoning County.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor even gave Clunk a proclamation.

For the last 13 years, he served as a visiting judge, receiving appointments to fill in for 22 of the state’s 88 counties.

Before that, Stark County elected Clunk probate judge. He served in that position for 18 years until he retired the first time, only to have his successor die in office.

“So I was thrust back into Stark County for three and a half months again, and that led me to believe that I enjoyed it and I’m going to continue to work wherever I can,” Clunk said.

One of his many assignments came in the spring of 2014 – to serve in the place of then Mahoning County Probate Judge Mark Belinky, who resigned in the midst of a corruption probe.

Clunk filled in as “interim” judge for about four months until Rob Rusu was appointed.

Since then, Clunk has returned to the area often to help reduce the county’s caseload.

This story corrects the spelling of Judge Clunk’s name.