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McDuffie and Warren counties lose former Probate Court judges

Longtime McDuffie County Probate Judge Mary Jane Locklear died last Wednesday at her home in Thomson following a long bout with Parkinson disease.

One of her friends, retired Warren County Probate Judge Lucy J. Bryant died just five days before Judge Locklear at her residence in Warrenton, following a lengthy illness.

Funeral services for Mrs. Bryant, who had served as Warren County probate judge for 24 years before retiring in 2004, were held Wednesday, Sept. 5, at First United Methodist Church in Warrenton. Rev. Mabel Foster and Rev. Jeanette Purvis officiated. Burial was at Johnson Methodist Church Cemetery.

Judge Locklear, who served as McDuffie County's probate judge for 16 years, retired in 1997.

Funeral services for Mrs. Locklear were held on Saturday, Sept. 8, in the Curtis Funeral Home Chapel in Thomson. Rev. Jeff Pullium and Rev. Liza Marler officiated.

Mrs. Locklear is survived by three children: Bill Locklear, of Statesboro; Frank Locklear, of Thomson; and Cyndie Locklear, of Thomson. Other survivors include two brothers, two sisters, two grandsons and a granddaughter.

Prior to serving as probate judge, Mrs. Locklear served as deputy clerk in the McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk's Office for several years. She was later elected to office of the probate court in 1972.

Mrs. Locklear also worked for 18 years as an accountant at Darrell Johnson Chevrolet in Thomson and formerly worked as an extension coordinator in McDuffie County for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.

Toombs Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr. remembered Mrs. Locklear as a lady who enjoyed working with the public.

"She was a very fine lady," Judge Dunaway said. "She took her duties and responsibilities very seriously. She treated everybody who came before her in a fair and courteous way. She was very effective in carrying out her duties."

Mrs. Bryant, meanwhile, is survived by a daughter, Angela K. Bryant, of Evans; and a son, Keith Bryant, of Martinez, as well as a grandson. Other survivors include three sisters and other family members.

She was a longtime member of the Daughters of American Revolution and Georgia County Officers Association.

Toombs Judicial Circuit Judge Harold Hinesley remembered Mrs. Bryant as passionate when it came to serving as a public official.

"She loved Warren County," Judge Hinesley said. "And she loved serving the citizens of Warren County. She got real pleasure out of serving others. She was always fair and she listened to both sides of any contested case before making a ruling. We will miss her greatly."

Web posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007

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