October 21-- The Toombs County Board of Commissioners is honoring a judge who sat on the bench in Toombs County for nearly a quarter of a century.
The Commission is naming the large courtroom in the Toombs County Courthouse "The Judge Marvin B. Hartley, Jr. Courtroom" in memory of the late judge who is the only Superior Court judge from Toombs County ever elected to serve in the Middle Judicial Circuit.
Commission Chairman David Sikes recalls an incident exemplifying Judge Hartley's character, "Pastor Danny Williams made a statement that really solidified my thoughts with the process. He said it was in the early 1970's and Judge Hartley was a member of one of our local Baptist churches and they had in their by-lays that blacks could not be a part of their congregation. Judge Hartley got up and said if these by-laws aren't changed, I will find another church because we are all God's children and we are all a part of this. With a man with that integrity, at a time when that was not a popular stance to take, it tells you his character of loving people."
Judge Hartley's three daughters and his widow, Betty, were on hand to witness passage of the resolution, "We had prayed about that since his death, that there would be some kind of memorial. He loved his profession so much and his work and the courthouse was his second home. It was very touching to us. I can't tell you just how touched we were and are just thankful to the people who came through and wanted to honor him. More than anything else, we're just thankful he will be remembered in that way," Mrs. Hartley said.
(L-R) County Manager John Jones, Commissioners Darriel Nobles and Tommy Rollins, daughter Terri Eisenberg, Betty Hartley, Chairman David Sikes, daughters Joni Callihan and Lori Collins-Crawley, Commissioners Wendell Dixon and Alfred Cason.
Chairman Sikes says not only will the courtroom in the current courthouse be named for Judge Hartley, but if and when a new courthouse is built, a courtroom there will also bear his name.
"I've lost my father, too, and I see what it means whenever you lose a love one and then they are memorialized for great character and what they've done for their community. You can't ask for a higher honor that that," the chairman said.