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NEWTON COUNTY, GA - The Newton County Judicial Center was renamed the Judge Horace J. Johnson, Jr. Judicial Center by the Board of Commissioners during its Regular meeting Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
The decision was unanimously approved by the board upon the request of Chairman Marcello Banes and is effective immediately. A formal ceremony will be held at a date to be announced.
Johnson served Newton County as a Superior Court Judge from 2002 until his death on Wednesday, July 1.
“We lost another pillar of the community; someone who has done so much for this community," Banes said "Judge Johnson has done so many great things in our community that I think he is definitely worthy of this honor of having his name on the judicial center."
Johnson was a pillar of the community, recognized by the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce as the R.O. Arnold Award winner in 2017 and being named the Martin Luther King, Jr. Trailblazer Award recipient in 2020. Johnson was also given the Frederick B. Kerr Service Award by Leadership Georgia in 2018, an organization he served as president of in 2009.
Johnson served on a number of boards throughout Newton County, including the founding advisory board of the Boys and Girls Club, the Washington Street Community Center, United Bank of Covington, Board of Counselors at Oxford College and the founding board of Newton Mentoring Inc. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Covington, serving as president in 2018-19, and helped Newton County veterans through the Veteran’s Accountability Court he started in 2016.
Johnson, who grew up in the Sand Hill community, attended Washington Street School and was among the first black students to integrate Ficquett Elementary School. He then attended Cousins Middle School and graduated Newton High School.
Johnson continued his education in Newton County at Oxford College of Emory and graduated from Emory University before earning his Juris Doctor at the University of Georgia Law School.
Johnson was appointed Newton County’s first African American Superior Court Judge by Gov. Roy Barnes in 2002.
"I think it is very fitting the judicial center is named in his honor," District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz said. "I know it was a labor of love for him to make sure the building was met with his expectations and was completed to the standard to which he expected and I think he would be really smiling down on us."
For more information about Newton County, please visit www.ncboc.com, like Newton County, Ga on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @NewtonCounty or Instagram @NewtonCountygov.