Shock, grief at retired Justice Harris Hines’ sudden death

Friends and colleagues of beloved jurist Harris Hines reacted with stunned sorrow at news of his sudden death on Sunday.

The recently retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice died in a car crash.

“A man for all Marietta and Georgia seasons,” Marietta Mayor Thunder Tumlin said on his Facebook feed. As the sad news spread, social media filled with tributes.

“There are some things we will never understand this side of heaven,” said Marietta City Schools board member Allison Gruehn. “The loss of this dear man who I first met in fifth grade is one of those things. A brilliant legal mind, but an even better father, grandfather, husband and friend. He always had a great story to tell with a twinkle in his eye! I am honored to have known him for 35 years and to have enjoyed so many fun times with his family. He was one of a kind and will be missed by so many!”

Hines and his wife, Helen, were driving back from Newnan Sunday when the wreck occurred. Both were taken to Grady Hospital; she was injured but expected to be released soon. No other cars were involved.

In Hines’ farewell State of the Judiciary Address, prior to his retirement, he paid moving tribute to his wife:

“Finally, I want to thank the lady to whom I gave my best closing argument ever, when I persuaded her to marry me way back in 1969. Helen, you are my rock, my partner, my best friend, my dear one. You have been with me every step of our journey together and have made me a better man, a better father and a better judge. To me, you’ve always been springtime at the Masters.”

The late Justice Harris Hines threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Atlanta Braves' Sept. 1 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Photo by Kevin D. Liles for the Atlanta Braves
Photo: Kevin D. Liles

Hines, 75, was appointed to the State Court of Cobb County in 1974 by then-Gov. Jimmy Carter, and then to the Supreme Court in 1995 by then-Gov. Zell Miller.

Just after his retirement in August, Hines was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at an Atlanta Braves game. It landed perfectly:

Photo by Kevin D. Liles for the Atlanta Braves
Photo: Kevin D. Liles
Photo by Kevin D. Liles for the Atlanta Braves
Photo: Kevin D. Liles

AJC staff writer Jennifer Brett contributed to this report.

Read and sign the online guestbook for Harris Hines

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