“A voice of love”: Longtime Bibb commissioner Justice remembered Saturday

Former Bibb County Commission Chairman Larry Justice was remembered Saturday as a talented man with a passion for public service, yet who still made time for his family and faith.

More than 200 people attended the funeral services held at Mikado Baptist Church in south Bibb County, where Justice was a member for many years.

“Not only was he my friend, but he was my brother in Christ,” said longtime friend Bill Barnett. “There are many accolades that fit Larry, but he was a voice of love.”

Justice, who held office for 28 years, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 74.

He became the full-time commission chairman in 1990 and retired in 2000.

He was credited with many accomplishments in his political career, but speakers at his funeral talked most about his personality and character.

“He always had an encouraging word,” said Billy Goudeau, another longtime friend. “He was a very gracious man and a humble man. He was a true Southern gentleman. The first word that comes to mind when I think about Larry Justice is ‘genuine.’ ”

Goudeau also lauded Justice for his commitment to the betterment of the community, and his desire to get things done even if it wasn’t popular with everyone.

“Larry Justice didn’t just talk about what needed to be done,” Goudeau said. “He did something about it. He fulfilled his purpose in life and crossed the finish line strong.”

The Rev. Rusty Smith said integrity “ran in his veins.”

“This guy was loaded with talent,” Smith said. “His sphere of influence was incredible, but he always had time to be with his family.”

Burial was held at Glen Haven Memorial Garden.

First elected to office in 1968, he soon concluded the county could buy fruits and vegetables for local nursing homes and orphanages cheaper than it could grow it on the county-run farm.

That led to the farm being turned into an industrial park that drew major employers Brown & Williamson, YKK and Geico.

Justice was instrumental in efforts to create the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, and to improve roads in the county. Interstate 475 is named in his honor.

Smith ended the service by showing a Christmas video of Justice reading the story of birth of Jesus in Luke.

“He made friends with everybody and never met a stranger,” Smith said.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.