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Harold G. Clarke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harold G. Clarke
Member of the Georgia State House of Representatives
from the 33rd district
In office
January 1961 – January 1971
Preceded byWilliam Bradford Freeman
Succeeded byPhillip Benson Ham
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
In office
Appointed byGeorge Busbee
22nd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
In office
Preceded byThomas Oliver Marshall, Jr.
Succeeded byCharles L. Weltner
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
In office
Preceded byCharles L. Weltner
Succeeded byWillis B. Hunt, Jr.
Personal details
Born(1927-09-28)September 28, 1927
Forsyth, Georgia
DiedFebruary 26, 2013(2013-02-26) (aged 85)
Forsyth, Georgia
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Norma (Gordon) Clarke
ChildrenHarold G. Clarke, Jr., Lee Ann (Clarke) Nash, Julie (Clarke) Poole, Beth (Clarke) Maner
ResidenceForsyth, Georgia
Alma materUniversity of Georgia

Harold Gravely Clarke (September 28, 1927 – February 26, 2013) was an American jurist and politician.

Early life and education

Harold G. Clarke was born in Forsyth, Georgia on September 28, 1927 to Jack H. and Ruby Lumpkin Clarke.[1] He attended Mary Persons High School, before enlisting in the United States Army, at age 17, during the final years of World War II. While in the service, he worked as a journalist, quickly rising to the position of managing editor of Pacific Stars And Stripes. After the war, with help from the G.I. bill, Clarke enrolled in the University of Georgia, where he earned a bachelor's degree, then a law degree. He then returned to his hometown of Forsyth, to set up his law practice. In addition to practicing law, Clarke continued his earlier work as a journalist when he took on the added duties of editor and publisher of the Monroe Advertiser, a local paper owned by his father.[2]

Political career

Clarke served five terms as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. First elected in 1960, he took office in January 1961 under the county unit system representing Monroe County as representative from the 33rd district. After the abolition of the county unit system, the 33rd district was expanded to include Butts County. Clarke was a member of the Democratic party, and served during a 10-year period when the Georgia General Assembly began transitioning from a body comprised almost exclusively of Democrats to one with a growing number of Republicans.[3][4]

Judicial career

After serving in the legislature, Clarke returned to the full-time practice of law. In 1976 he was elected president of the State Bar of Georgia. During his tenure as Bar president, he challenged lawyers to improve their work and better themselves.[2] In 1979, Georgia Governor George Busbee appointed Clarke to the Georgia Supreme Court, where he served as Associate Justice until 1990. In 1990 he was elected by his colleagues to the position of 22nd Chief Justice, which he held until June 1992 when he stepped down, to allow his friend Justice Charles L. Weltner, who was battling cancer, to serve the last few months of his life as Chief Justice. [2] When Justice Weltner died in August 1992, Clarke resumed the position of 22nd Chief Justice, until 1994.[2] He has been described as one of the most influential jurists in state history.[2] In 1985, he published a book: Remembering Forward, about growing up in a small Southern town in the 1930s and 1940s.[5] Clarke died in Forsyth, Georgia on February 26, 2013 at the age of 85.[1][2][6]


  1. ^ a b Harold G. Clarke-Obituary
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bill Rankin (February 27, 2013). "Harold Clarke, former state Supreme Court justice, dies". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "Members of The General Assembly of Georgia - Term 1969-1970". State of Georgia. May 1970. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  4. ^ "County Unit System". New Georgia Encyclopedia. April 15, 2005. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  5. ^ Harold G. Clarke (1995). Remembering Forward. Mercer University Press. ISBN 978-0-86554-472-7.
  6. ^ "Judge Harold G. Clarke (Supreme Court of Georgia)". Court Listener - Free Law Project. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
This page was last edited on 28 March 2020, at 01:25
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