Cover photo for George D Warner, Jr's Obituary
George D Warner, Jr Profile Photo

George D Warner, Jr

November 7, 1929 — September 16, 2023

Meridian

George D Warner, Jr

Funeral services for George D. Warner Jr., 93, a longtime figure in the Mississippi legal community, outdoorsman and travel enthusiast, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at Webb & Stephens Funeral Home on Highway 39. A visitation at the funeral home will begin at 9:30 a.m. until service time, with burial following the funeral in the adjacent Forest Lawn Memory Gardens.

 

Warner, a Mississippi Delta native who came to Meridian in 1955, passed away Sept. 16 at the Brookdale Senior Living community. Quiet final days there contrasted with the earlier high-energy lifestyle of a man whose wallet carried a personal motto: “If I rest, I rust.”

 

He was a man who loved family, church, community activism, and playing jokes on friends. Warner’s children called him “the octopus” because of his simultaneous involvement in many things, including their education and job prospects.

           

Warner attended college at Mississippi State, where he majored in agriculture and served as president of Sigma Chi fraternity. Immediately after his 1951 graduation, he served two years with the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, assigned to food service at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. Warner’s first of two marriages began during this time.

 

Intrigued with military legal procedure, Warner attended law school at the University of Mississippi after his Air Force service. As a lifelong MSU Bulldog fan, he would later jest that he went to Ole Miss “as a missionary.”

 

Warner moved to Meridian seeking opportunity. Having filled leadership roles at Cleveland High and MSU, the ambitious lawyer quickly attracted notice in the Queen City. In 1961 he was elected state president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, or the Jaycees. He taught swimming at area pools and night classes at the community college.

 

Elected district attorney in 1963 (using the slogan “Let George Do It”) and then re-elected, he successfully prosecuted a Klan hit man and the Warner residence was targeted for a cross-burning. Warner forged close ties with FBI agents and Meridian police, and waged campaigns against illegal drug dealing and gambling joints. Defeated in his bid for a third DA term, Warner focused on his private law practice until returning to politics with a successful run for Chancery Court judge in 1982. He served as judge through 1994. Warner typically gave immediate rulings from the bench—taking pride in not taking cases “under advisement”—and sometimes ordered jail time for litigants who were disruptive in court. He once fined himself for leaving town on a fishing trip when a hearing was scheduled in his court. Many recall his unconventional style as a jurist. He was also remembered as a fierce advocate for children in domestic cases.

         

In 1991, Warner became a noted author when he published a legal reference book, Warner’s Griffith Mississippi Chancery Practice. Law practice associates of Warner’s through the years included Harvey Ray, Leonard Cobb and Dan Self.

           

Among various side ventures, Warner invested in rental property around town, built and leased a telephone company building, and saw quick failure when he opened a fried chicken lunch restaurant, “Mom’s.”

           

Warner’s longtime “Get Outdoors” column for the Meridian Star offered glimpses into his passion for crappie fishing and deer or squirrel hunting. He hunted mule deer in the Colorado mountains and relished times spent on Alabama rivers with fishing buddy L.N. Rhodes. He proudly cooked and served harvests from the wild, and his hushpuppies were a side-dish attraction.

           

A dedicated United Methodist Church member, Warner spent most of his non-work hours with close relatives. He cherished time spent with “The Magnificent Seven,” children reared by he and his former wives, Eloise and, later, Nancy. For many years his children and their families shared times at the “Sand Dollar,” a bayside Warner retreat on the Alabama coast.

           

Beyond trips to Orange Beach, Warner traveled across the country and around the world, seeking new adventures for himself and others. He was especially drawn to Belize, in Central America, and its promise of world-class reef diving.

           

Warner was preceded in death by his parents, George and Louise Warner, his sisters Ann and Love, and daughter Louanne, as well as two grandsons, Liam and Cody. He is survived by four sons, Dewey, Coleman (Cindy), George (Sue) and Thomas (Lauren); and two daughters, Debbie (Mark) and Elizabeth (Bill). He had 24 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as 7 nieces and nephews.

            

The family deeply appreciates care given to Warner through Brookdale, the Veterans Administration, and the Home Instead and Compassus agencies. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Aldersgate Retirement Community Sunday Fund, 6600 Poplar Springs Drive, Meridian, MS 39305.

 

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Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, September 23, 2023

9:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Webb & Stephens Funeral Homes North

7774-A Highway 39 N, Meridian, MS 39305

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, September 23, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Webb & Stephens Funeral Homes North

7774-A Highway 39 N, Meridian, MS 39305

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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