Justice Fletcher has new portrait unveiled in Rome

November 19, 2017 GMT

“When I was in law school I never thought about my portrait being there, and I can guarantee none of the professors ever thought of it,” was the reaction of retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman S. Fletcher after his official portrait was unveiled by his two daughters at Coosa Country Club in Rome.

The portrait, done by fellow University of Georgia Law School graduate Celeste McCullough, Class of ’82, will be presented to leadership of the University of Georgia Law School at a later date.

Fletcher said he suspects this is the first time an official portrait of a UGA law school graduate was done by a fellow UGA law school graduate.

McCullough said the work on Fletcher’s portrait was several years in the making. After a case that Fletcher consulted with her on several years ago, McCullough asked if she would be given the honor of doing his official portrait.

“It had everything to do with what I think of him as a person, as a judge, as a justice and as a friend,” McCullough said. “Whatever else you may say about the portrait I will say it was painted with love and admiration.”

McCullough said she spent a couple of years reviewing pictures of Judge Fletcher before deciding on the pose that she would paint, a straight on look with a library of law books in the background.

The painting was unveiled by Fletcher’s daughters, Mary Fletcher Kiker and Elizabeth Fletcher Coan, in front of a roomful of attorney’s including U.S. District Court Judge Harold L. Murphy.

Fletcher started his practice of the law in Rome in 1958, spending five years with John Maddox, Stokes Walton and Oscar Smith.

“Without the help and lessons I learned from them I would never had any opportunity to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court,” Fletcher said.

He moved to LaFayette and practiced for 27 years before he was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court by Governor Joe Frank Harris in 1989. He served through June of 2005, spending the last four years as Chief Justice.

King Askew, a partner at Brinson, Askew and Berry, where Fletcher is now of counsel, told the crowd Fletcher led the campaign to create a statewide Public Defender system in Georgia. He also got it funded by the legislature, “which in itself was a tremendous achievement,” Askew said.

Fletcher made note of the presence of U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy.

“I learned so much from Harold,” Fletcher recalled.

Fletcher currently does a lot of appellate work and consulting from offices at Brinson, Askew and Berry.

‘Whatever else you may say about the portrait I will say it was painted with love and admiration.’

Celeste McCullough

painter and attorney