IN MEMORIAM: Bettye King Menck

The court reporting community lost one of their own on Jan. 15, 2018. Bettye King Menck of Shelbyville, Tennessee, was one of the last pen writers in the state — perhaps the country! She began her court reporting career after completing her training through a civil service program and began working for the federal government at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to pay for her training. In 1965, she moved to Shelbyville to become one of the seven charter members of the official criminal court reporters of Tennessee.

A letter she received in 1977 from the executive secretary of the state reads, in part: “In 1965 you accepted the challenge of this post as an adventurer in an endeavor with an uncertain future. It was a new idea in Tennessee, one that was created by the application of the concept of ‘equal protection under the law.’ The members of the Supreme Court join me in extending our personal gratitude to you for your efforts in a job well done. It is our hope that you will continue your efforts for many years to come.”

When her judge retired in 1990, Bettye continued on as a freelance reporter until 2004 — when, at the age of 71, she laid down her pen for good. Not only did she serve the legal community well, she was also a mentor to many new reporters through the years. I knew the family from a young age, and in my senior year of high school, I went with her on career day to sit in on hearings in the criminal court; and, ultimately, changed my course of study. It was that day I decided I was going to court reporting school. I know of at least two other current court reporters that learned of court reporting through Miss Bettye. Not only was Bettye Menck my mentor, she was my former mother-in-law and my friend. Her impact on the court reporting community will not be forgotten by those of us who knew her.

Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC
Nashville, Tenn.

NCRA member Brenda L. Ray passes

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyNCRA member Brenda L. Ray, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Apopka, Fla., passed away on Jan. 17. Formerly from Wauwatosa, Wis., Ray owned and operated Ray Reporting in Milwaukee for 15 years before moving to central Florida in 2016.

Read more.

Past NCRA member Allan Liljehult passes

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyThe Hartford Courant reported on Jan. 16 that Allan Liljehult, West Hartford, Conn., a retired official court reporter and former member of NCRA, died Jan. 14 after a brief illness.

Read more.

Jim Woitalla’s legacy continues with student scholarships

By Jennifer Sati

As we all cherish our memories of Jim Woitalla and relish every single moment we spent with him, his legacy continues through his scholarships for judicial reporting students at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn.

Callie Sajdera, Anoka Tech student, and Peter Gravett, Anoka Tech Foundation director

Three $1,000 scholarships were awarded this past summer semester to students. All three of the recipients had Jim as their technology instructor, which made the award all the more special. The recipients were Jennifer Brama, who has since graduated; Callie Sajdera, a 200 wpm student; and Jamie Ward, a 180 wpm student.

The scholarships were presented on Oct. 5 at the Anoka Technical College fall scholarship dinner and ceremony. It was a privilege and blessing to have Jim’s mother and two of his sisters attend the scholarship ceremony and be a part of awarding the very first Woitalla scholarships. Callie Sajdera, the student speaker at the foundation ceremony, shared heartfelt stories of Jim as her instructor.

The judicial reporting program would like to thank everyone who has generously donated toward Jim Woitalla’s scholarship fund. Please know that the students are very appreciative of the thoughtfulness of others and that the money has made a difference in their education. We at Anoka Tech will keep Jim’s passion for this amazing profession thriving by continuing to graduate students who share his same passion and enthusiasm for technology and excellence.

Court reporting students Callie Sajdera (far left) and Jamie Ward (far right) pose with members of Jim Woitalla’s family

Since the inception of the scholarship fund, a total of $8,500 has been donated. We are hopeful we can keep Jim’s scholarship fund active with continued donations and use the funds to award two $1,000 scholarships annually. The family discerningly suggested that more funds be given out this first year or two so that students who learned from Jim could receive the most benefit.

Jim was loved and respected by countless reporters and captioners around the country, and it is a great privilege to be able to continue to share his legacy with students, our future! Learn more about how to get involved with the Anoka Tech Foundation and the “Judicial Reporting Program/Woitalla Scholarship Fund.”

Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, is a captioner and an instructor at Anoka Tech. She is also on NCRA’s Board of Directors. She can be reached at

NCRA member Eleanor Ross passes away

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyPast NCRA member Eleanor Ruth Hennessy Pinard Ross, of Westfield, Pa., passed away Sept. 4. Throughout her career, she worked for the Portland, Maine, bankruptcy courts, the federal court based in Baltimore, Md., and the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. She is survived by her three daughters and their families.

Read more.

Barbara Lynn Schneiter Jackson passes away

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyBarbara Lynn Schneiter Jackson, RPR, CRR (Ret.), Flagstaff, Ariz., passed away on June 18.

Read more.

Former NCRA member Alan Roberts passes away

JCR logoThe Sun-Sentinel reported on June 17 that retired NCRA member Alan Roberts, FAPR, RPR, passed away in Boca Raton, Fla. Roberts was a past president of the New Jersey Court Reporters Association and a former school owner.

Read more.

Former NCRA member Michael David Clepper passes away

JCR logoThe Houston Chronicle reported on June 14 that former NCRA member Mike Clepper of Houston, Texas, passed away on June 2, after a brief battle with cancer. He was a founding member and director of the Texas Deposition Reporters Association and served as president of the Houston Court Reporters Association.

Read more.

Former NCRA Board member Arlene Sommers passes

JCR logoThe Heritage Florida Jewish News posted an obituary on May 19 for Arlene Phyllis Sommers, past president of the Florida Court Reporters Association and a past NCRA Board member.

Read more.

NCRA member Michelle Grimes passes away

JCR logoNCRA member Michelle Lynn Grimes, a freelance reporter from Villa Park, Ill., passed away Thursday, May 11. She was employed by Planet Depos in St. Charles, Ill.

Read more.