Cover photo for Justice George H. Carley, Sr.'s Obituary
Justice George H. Carley, Sr. Profile Photo
1938 Justice George 2020

Justice George H. Carley, Sr.

September 24, 1938 — November 26, 2020

Justice George Holmes Carley, Sr. of Decatur, GA passed away on November 26, 2020. He died 34 years to the day after his father and will be buried next to his parents at Decatur Cemetery.
Justice Carley was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1938, the only child of George L. Carley Jr. and Dorothy Holmes Carley. His family moved to Decatur, Georgia in 1948. His father was a member of the United States Public Health Service. From 1951 to 1953 he attended the eighth and ninth grades at the Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India while his father was posted in Burma. Returning to the United States, George graduated from Decatur High School in 1956. He served in the United States Army, on active duty in 1956 and then in the Reserve until 1960.
He received his A.B. from the University of Georgia in 1960 and his LL.B. from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1962, becoming a “Double Dawg”. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Justice Carley was admitted to the bar in 1961 and for three months served in the title department at the Atlanta law firm of Hansell, Post, Brandon & Dorsey before returning to Decatur, where he practiced from 1963 until 1979, when he became a judge. He was briefly an attorney for the U.S. Public Housing Administration before starting a solo practice that grew into a larger law firm. Justice Carley served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1966 and in 1971 became a partner with the Decatur firm of McCurdy & Candler. He represented the Housing Authority of the City of Decatur and also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Georgia Department of Transportation, handling eminent domain cases.
Justice Carley was named as a judge in the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1979, then the Georgia Supreme Court in 1993 by appointment of then Gov. Zell Miller. In May 2012, he was sworn in as the 29th Chief Justice, serving as leader of Georgia’s judicial system until Dec. 31, 2012, when his term in office came to an end. Justice Carley was the first in Georgia history to serve as Presiding Judge and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and as Presiding Justice and Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. He was an active member of the Advocates Club, Old War Horse Lawyers Club, Decatur Rotary Club, and Gridiron Secret Society.
He was an avid longtime Georgia Bulldogs football fan. He was described as quintessentially old school and almost never appeared in public without his signature attire of a coat and tie, which he wore even while riding a mule in the Grand Canyon. He is survived by his wife Sandy, his son George Carley, Jr. daughter-in-law Lisa and his two grandchildren, George Matthew and Alex.
Due to the current Covid-19 health and safety concerns and restrictions, the family will hold a private service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in support of the Georgia High School Mock Trial Program by mailing a check made payable to the State Bar of Georgia Foundation, with Justice Carley’s name in the memo line, to Mock Trial Office, 104 Marietta Street NW, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30303.
Services can also be viewed on our Face Book page :

Graveside Service: Topic: GAVESIDE for George H. Carley
Start Time : Dec 10, 2020 04:12 PM

Meeting Recording:

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Home

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Online Only A.S. Turner Facebook

2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033


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