– Clarence the angel, in It’s a Wonderful Life
Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. had a wonderful life. In fact, he could be said to have had several.
He will be most remembered as an eminently fair and caring Superior Court judge who inspired even his fellow jurists to be better judges and people.
Such a legacy would be enough for most of us. But this man was so much more than that.
An Augusta native, Mulherin was the proverbial gentleman and scholar, a cum laude graduate
of University of Georgia’s school of law, who served his country as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army infantry. He also was a decorated FBI agent.
He might have retired as one of this area’s finest lawyers, and indeed had a 20-year stint at Hull, Towill, Norman, Barrett & Johnson. But he was appointed to the court in 1980, where he excelled at perhaps the bench’s most trying type of case: family law.
The reason: his extraordinary feel for people, particularly children – the same concern that led him to repeatedly take carloads of at-risk youths to college football games over the years.
As if that weren’t enough, just prior to his appointment to the bench he’d been an exceptional and respected member of the Augusta City Council.
Away from the bench, the thoughtful judge was a distinguished member and tireless leader of innumerable organizations dedicated to bettering our community and world, including his beloved St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church and many others.
He was a senior judge, a lifetime appointment, at his death on Monday.
May it be said of Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. that he not only had a wonderful life, but many wonderful lives, all spent making his hometown a better place.
It’s a final judgment we would all wish for ourselves.