Worth County State Court Judge Clarence Miller dies at 80

Miller served 33 years as a state court judge, was a former principal at Worth County High School, and was the County’s former attorney and school board attorney

Worth County State Court Judge Clarence Miller, 80, died late Saturday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Worth County State Court Judge Clarence Miller, 80, died late Saturday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

SYLVESTER — Worth County State Court Judge Clarence Miller died late Saturday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Miller, 80, was a longtime presence in Worth County politics, having served as a the county’s State Court judge since 1981, he was just the third judge to hold this title since the court was created in 1917.

Miller received a degree in Math and Science Education from Georgia Teachers College (presently Georgia Southern University), and he later served as principal of Worth County High School from 1961-1965. Miller then went to law school at the University of Georgia, where he obtained his degree in 1967.

In addition, he later served as the county attorney for Worth County and was also the county’s school board attorney.

“Mr. Miller served Worth County for many years,” County Commission Chairman Mike Crosby said. “We are going to miss his presence as State Court judge and in his other duties for the county. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Miller and the entire family.”

Worth County School Superintendent Barbara Thomas echoed Crosby’s sentiments.

“The Worth County School District is saddened over the passing of Mr. Clarence Miller,” Thomas said. “Mr. Miller served as school board attorney for Worth County Schools for many years. His wisdom and guidance were invaluable to the school district. He will be sorely missed.”

Worth County Solicitor Bryce Johnson said he will remember Miller fondly.

“I was fortunate to appear before Clarence Miller for five years as solicitor,” Johnson said. “I always found Judge Miller to be fair. He will surely be missed by the courts system of Worth County.

Miller’s replacement on the bench will be determined, according to state law, by gubernatorial appointment in “the event of a vacancy in the office of judge of the state court for any reason other than expiration of the term of office …”

Miller’s term expires Dec. 31, 2016. The governor’s appointee would serve “until a successor is duly selected and qualified and until January 1 of the year following the next general election (in November) which is more than six months after such person’s appointment.” That means an election would be conducted in November with the winner taking office Jan. 1, 2015.

Miller’s survivors include his wife, Mary Jane Hancock Miller of Sylvester; children, David Miller (Gayle) of Sylvester; Vickie Lubbers (Ed) of Tifton; Lorie Miller-Stevens (Britt) of Gainesville; Alan Varnadoe (Renee) of Anderson City; grandchildren, Matthew Miller (Amy); Joshua Miller (Katie); Rebekah Miller-Setser (Jason); Michaela Lubbers; Leandra Stevens; Breland Stevens; Jake, Sam and Jon Ellis Varnadoe; great-grandchild Destiny Setser; siblings, George Miller (Jean) of Huntsville, Ala.; Ruth Kingery of Aiken, S.C.; and Ralph Miller of Palm Coast, Fla.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at Banks Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Pinson Memorial United Methodist Church with interment to follow in Kimball Cemetery. The Revs. Mike Davis, Dexter Wilson, and Glenn Hobby will officiate.