FAIRFIELD — It was a doubly special day Jan. 3 for Kate Maxham, the Democratic probate court staff attorney who was elected probate judge in November.

Not only was she the first female probate judge in Fairfield’s history — it was also her birthday.

“We could be here all day if I went through a list of people who have helped me throughout my career,” Maxham said shortly after her swearing-in ceremony with Town Clerk Betsy Brown.

It was a packed house at the Burr Homestead at 739 Old Post Road. Community leaders, state representatives and senators, commissioners and friends took up the entirety of the vestibule space by 4:30 p.m.

First Selectman Mike Tetreau, whose birthday was coincidentally on the exact same day, introduced Maxham before the ceremony.

“Today is a very special day,” said Jeanmarie Einig, a clerk in the town’s probate department. “Maxham was staff attorney for many years and she’s very respected.”

The ceremony also served as a remembrance of the legacy of former Judge Daniel Caruso, the Republican probate judge who held the position since 1995 and passed away Feb. 25.

Maxham had been a 20-year staff attorney for Caruso. In the November elections of last year, Maxham bested Republican candidate Bryan LeClerc for the probate judge position.

Amid “Happy Birthday” cheers and encouragements from both Democrats and Republicans alike, Maxham’s ceremony was also an opportunity to celebrate a first in the town’s history.

“This is a thrilling occasion,” said state Rep. Cristin Vahey, D-133. “Everyone is so excited and Kate is very well-respected and exactly the type of person we need.”

Throughout the event, Maxham was continuously greeted and congratulated on her work.

“It’s very exciting. This is a continuation of the excellent work and legacy of judge Caruso,” state Sen. Tony Hwang, R-28, said. “I can’t think of a more qualified person to help people who are going through the probate court.”

humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com