Childs, Julie


Julie Childs, a life-long resident of Decatur and noted attorney, church and civic leader, died peacefully at home Friday June 14, 2024, under hospice care following a recent stroke and cancer diagnosis.

A service is planned at 3 PM, Wednesday, June 19, in the sanctuary of Decatur First United Methodist Church, where she had been a life-long member and held numerous leadership positions for decades. Senior Pastor The Rev. Dalton T. Rushing will officiate.

Ms. Childs was a highly recommended attorney specializing in trust and estate law, and equally well-respected for decades of dedicated service via community, civic, and church leadership roles, including most recently as Chair of the Conference Board of Trustees for the North Georgia United Methodist Church.

Born October 5, 1950, she was the eldest daughter of the late Otis and Eloise Childs. A brother, Otis Lee Childs III, died in 2011. She grew up in Decatur, and graduated from Decatur High School. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in 1971, she attended the UGA law school, working on the law review and graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Ms. Childs was president of the DeKalb Junior League from 1990 to 1991. Over the decades, she remained close to her UGA Delta Delta Delta sorority sisters, and her Junior League leadership team friends, hosting many a laughter filled covered dish dinner for both groups in her home.

Under her leadership, the DeKalb Junior League helped establish the Dekalb Rape Crisis Center, now operating as Day League. The non-profit provides direct services, prevention education, and advocacy for youth and adult survivors of sexual assault, their families, and the community. In the center's early days, she frequently wore a beeper as the weekend shift volunteer on call. She helped establish an annual fundraising event and remained involved for decades, serving as Day League Board Chair as recently as 2023.

She first practiced law with Cofer, Beacham & Hawes, then moved to McLain & Merritt, where she worked from 1986 until her retirement in 2019, and for a period, served as managing partner. She was well known and highly respected in the wills, trusts and estates section of the Georgia Bar Association. During the late 1990's, she made the annual section bar meeting more topical with an engaging presentation titled, "The Estate Planning Secrets of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis."

After retirement, Ms. Childs intensified her prodigious portfolio of community and church work. At the time of her death, she served as Chair of the North Georgia Conference Board of Trustees for the United Methodist Church, the lay governing board for more than 400 North Georgia churches. Bishop Robin Dease said Ms. Childs' leadership role came during a tumultuous time in the life of the conference. "Julie led with grace and wisdom," Bishop Dease said. "She had to make difficult decisions. But she fostered harmony, facilitated communication and had a knack for creating inclusive spaces where people felt welcomed and connected. Julie was teaching me to be strong as well as gentle, to value relationships, and to understand the power of courage, will, determination and love."

Among earlier leadership roles for the church conference were service on boards for the Georgia United Methodist Foundation and Wesley Woods Home Inc. For her local congregation, she completed a term as Secretary/Treasurer of the Church Council at the end of 2023 and had for many years served as chair of the church's Endowment Committee. She also recently chaired the congregation's Bicentennial Committee, which published a church history and planned numerous activities leading up to a gala April 2023 celebration.

For the past decade, she had served as Board Chair for Breakthru House, Inc., a long-term residential program empowering women who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction by providing a safe place for them to live with their children. The group broke ground on two new homes in the spring of 2023, as part of a $1.6 million facilities expansion.

Because several family members were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, Ms. Childs was a devoted leader and fundraiser for the Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which supports research and educational efforts. Additional community activities over the years includes service on boards for the DeKalb Library Foundation, the DeKalb Medical Foundation, and the Legacy Advisory Leadership Council for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Survivors include her sister, Melinda Childs, and the much beloved children, and grandchildren, of her late brother: Emily Childs Brinkley (Paul), and children Joan and Lane of Thomasville, Betsy Childs Orrick and children, Charlie and Claire of Thomasville, and Clay Childs (Channing) and Callie of Denver, Colorado.

In lieu of flowers, and in keeping with the spirit of Ms. Childs' civic and philanthropic efforts, the family suggests memorial gifts to Breakthru House, Decatur First United Methodist Church, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or a charity of your choice.

Sign the guestbook at

View the obituary on

Funeral Home Information

Turner & Sons Funeral Home

2773 North Decatur Road

Decatur, GA