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Funeral for retired judge George B. Culpepper III is Tuesday

George B. Culpepper III, a retired Bibb County Superior Court judge, died Saturday.

His funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Fort Valley United Methodist Church. Burial will be private.

Culpepper, 93, was born in Fort Valley and attended Mars Hill College in North Carolina, then Mercer University law school. On the day he graduated from law school, he enlisted in the Navy, serving primarily in the South Pacific during World War II.

He met his future wife, Alice Wright, while attending law school, and they married in 1943. They celebrated their 71st anniversary earlier this year.

After the war, he joined his father, George B. Culpepper, in a Fort Valley law practice his father had founded in 1924. He practiced for 20 years before his appointment to a Superior Court judgeship for the Macon Judicial Circuit in 1967. He became a senior judge in 1983.

One of his sons, Bryant, succeeded him on the Superior Court bench.

In a 1982 interview just before his retirement, Culpepper quipped, “My life has been markedly unspectacular.”

But his personal style won over those both inside and outside the courtroom.

It was not uncommon to see him strolling outside his chambers during a court recess, joking and talking with lawyers and laymen alike.

The lanky pipe smoker had a “gruff, hickory-smoked voice that can be intimidating until you notice it usually precedes a hearty laugh,” the Telegraph article said.

One anecdote lawyers were fond of telling about Culpepper concerned his bout with a rubber band. He was trying his first case, and he was understandably nervous. He was fidgeting with the band while a witness testified, trying to appear calm.

But it slipped out of his hands at one point, shot toward the ceiling and landed on the witness’s glasses -- to spectators’ delight and Culpepper’s embarrassment.

He mentioned the occasional emotional drain of the job but noted that some of his duties, such as overseeing adoptions, were a rewarding experience.

Survivors include his wife, four children, 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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