Judge Oliver Laid to Rest

Hundreds of family, friends and members of the legal community turned out today to say farewell to superior court judge George Oliver. The 89-year-old Oliver died Friday after a long illness. WTOC attended the service where Judge Oliver was remembered as an outstanding Savannahian.

Mourners poured into the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church to pay their final tribute to a man who was loved and respected throughout the community.

One of the many people whose life was influenced by Judge Oliver is Judge John Morse. "I've had a longstanding relationship with him since I was in high school," Judge Morse said. "I did a legal internship with him back in '76. He's always been a mentor of mine."

Judge Oliver presided over thousands cases during a career that spanned more than 40 years. His most famous were the three murder trials of antiques dealer Jim Williams, the basis for the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Judge Oliver also presided over several cases during the turbulent '60s. "Judge Oliver was a moderating force in this community," said Mayor Otis Johnson. "And when things got tough and strained, he was one of the people that could talk to other people in the community and bring some reason to the situation."

Judge Oliver also had strong religious convictions. He taught Sunday school Wesley Monumental UMC for more than 30 years.

He will not only be remembered for his many contributions to the legal system in Chatham County. Those who knew him best say he was also one of the most loyal fans the Georgia Bulldogs ever had.

He was buried in Bonaventure Cemetery.

Reported by: Ron Wallace, rwallace@wtoc.com