We caught up with Grace Garland recently at her Thomasville home where life has slowed considerably. Her busy career started as a clerk in small claims court.
In the mid 1970s she spent $200 and wore out two pair of shoes to win her first election as justice of the peace. Garland then won a straw ballot in 1982 that launched her 20-plus years as Thomas County's chief magistrate, years that saw her effect a lot of change.
Garland says, "I tried to make it very professional and ethically like it should be, and I’m happy to say I had a part in organizing the magistrate court for the whole state."
Garland also had a hand in reorganizing the Second Judicial District, giving folks in south Georgia a greater voice in the state. At the same time she was also the city of Thomasville's municipal court judge where she served as judge and jury, and many times as a counselor.
"I might not can help them, but I can direct them and talk to them and encourage them, and throughout the years I feel that, you know, I've done that and I performed a lot of marriages, and I hope they don't hold it against me!”
Grace Garland spends a lot of her free time now traveling and visiting with her children.