Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. dies

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Senior Superior Court Judge Bernard Mulherin Sr.
Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 9:00 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 1:25 AM
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Senior Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., a jurist remembered for seriousness on the bench and community work off it, died early Monday. He was 80.

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Family members and colleagues called him fair-minded with a concern for others. His son John Mulherin said his last wish was to give chocolates to the night nurse who cared for him.

“He was the role model for our family, the glue that held us together,” Mulherin said.

A native of Augusta, Ber­nard Mulherin served a two-year stint as an Army officer and later an FBI special agent. Before his appointment to the Family Court bench in 1980, he operated a private law practice and served seven years on the Augusta City Council.

Mediating domestic issues such as divorces and custody cases suited Mulherin because he was sensitive to the needs of people, particularly young children, said friend and colleague Pat Rice, an Augusta lawyer.

“The mark of the man was really … his desire to raise up the level of humanity,” Rice said.

Those who knew Mulherin said he understood that his judicial decisions were life-altering. He took the time to listen to all sides and study the law as it concerned the case.

“He instilled in me … to not make quick decisions, to give every case proper consideration,” said fellow Sen­ior Judge William M. Fleming Jr.

Mulherin was not one to tarry on a decision, either. Senior Judge Albert Pickett, another longtime colleague, said one of Mulherin’s strengths was that he was prompt in making decisions. He wasn’t one to keep lawyers hanging on motions, Pickett said.

Mulherin wouldn’t budge once his mind was made up, nor would he lose sleep worrying about past decisions. Former Judge Neal Dickert said Mulherin taught him to devise a decision-making process and stick with it.

“He didn’t second-guess himself,” Dickert said. “He lived for the future, not the past … because the next case de­mands just as much attention.”

Others remembered Mulherin for his efforts off the bench.

In 1965, he took a station wagon full of youngsters from the Boy’s Club to a University of Georgia football game. The trip to a game be­came an annual tradition. It’s just one facet of the hours he spent with the club and other civic groups, including the Knights of Columbus and Ameri­can Legion, friends said.

He was also known to display his patriotism by raising an American flag on a 10-foot pole outside his home on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The locals knew him as “the flag man.”

His family said the judge often acted for others.

John Mulherin said one of the earliest memories of his father was buying dozens of doughnuts on weekends and taking them to several fire stations.

“He had every opportunity to seek out the limelight and fame, but he really was so humble and refused to do so,” Mulherin said.

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Westover Memorial Park.

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jmmlaw 09/17/12 - 11:55 am
Judge Mulherin was a

Judge Mulherin was a gentleman in the old-fashioned sense of the word, a pillar of this community and represented everything good about the legal professsion. He will be greatly missed by many - myself included.

sugamama 09/17/12 - 12:07 pm
"There are souls in this

"There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere, and leaving it behind them when they go." -Frederick Faber- Many fond memories of Bernard Mulherin (both the gentleman, and the judge). Prayers and thoughts with the family.

AutumnLeaves 09/17/12 - 04:38 pm
Bernard Mulherin

Bernard Mulherin will be missed. My sympathy on this loss to his family, friends and our community.

americafirst 09/17/12 - 05:09 pm
Knew him very well and I was

Knew him very well and I was a better person from knowing him. RIP, BJ.

constituent 09/17/12 - 05:13 pm
This was a fair minded judge

This was a fair minded judge with no bias at all. You will be miss, need more like you.

Mark Wortham
Mark Wortham 09/18/12 - 12:31 pm
Judge Mulherin

Judge Mulherin was a great man who made a positive impact on innumerable people. I was fortunate to be one of those. He was slow to anger and quick to give a kind word. He was wise, impartial and humble. He was strong in character and morals and loved his family. His love for people was unbounded and he never met someone in whom he couldn't find something nice to say about them. He was a great example for all of us and will be woefully missed by all who knew and loved him.

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