Judge George Oliver Dies at 89

Judge George Oliver on the bench.
Judge George Oliver on the bench.

The City of Savannah has lost a man who dedicated his life to justice. Judge George Oliver died this morning after a long illness.

"Judge Oliver was an outstanding Savannahian and very fine jurist and wonderful lawyer," longtime friend Sonny Seiler told us.

After years of working both civil and criminal cases, Judge Oliver eventually found himself presiding over a case that would bring the city of Savannah into the national spotlight. It was a trial he would spend nearly seven years of his life on and which was the basis for the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Although the Jim Williams trial was one of the most notable cases, it was just one of thousands Judge Oliver presided over in his career that spanned more than 40 years. It was a career that included being an avid Georgia Bulldogs fan and a member several organizations.

"Anything George Oliver was a part in had his complete attention," Seiler said. "He didn't just join things to join them. If he was going to work it, he was going to do his part."

But what his friends say this distinguished judge enjoyed the most were his casual walks with his loved ones along the beach at Tybee. "We reminisced about him walking on the beach," said Seiler. "It's this time of year that he enjoyed it the most and it's sort of ironic that he would pass away so close to Fourth of July because it's one day at the beach George Oliver really enjoyed."

Judge Oliver was 89 years old.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com