In 1962 a long anticipated movie, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was released. Pretty much everyone knows the story. A lone attorney, Atticus Finch, stood alone before his town, his community, defending a black man falsely accused of attacking a white woman. Finch, the liberal, stood for justice against the deep prejudice of the community who had neither patience for nor interest in justice.
In 1962, Hubert Holland opened his law practice on the second floor of a small brick building resting on the Southeastern corner of the Marietta Square. It wasn’t much, just a small, sole practitioner’s law office. The most prominent decoration was a framed photograph of the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Hubert, a lone liberal in a county not known for progressive sentiment, started his career by standing firmly for justice for the common man, regardless of the color of his skin. Hubert was an unusual breed.
Now, 50 years later, in 2012, Hubert’s career has ended. Hubert passed tonight at around 6:30. He had not been well for the last few months. It was only a very short time ago that Hubert made it down the very long stairs to Atlanta Street, which runs in front of his office, and had to sit down on the bench outside of Tommy’s Sandwich Shop to catch his breath. Hubert didn’t know then, none of us did, that this day would be the last day he would see the office he poured his life’s work into for 50 years.
Hubert ended his career very much like he began it: fighting the very powerful on behalf of the common man, or in this case, woman. Hubert had long specialized in Trusts and Estates. He had prepared Estate Documents for a client, Leone Hall Price, some years before. When Ms. Price died, long lost relatives suddenly swooped in to claim bounty that was never meant for them. They were joined by the State of Georgia, Attorney General’s office in their disingenuous attempts.
There was a trial in Cobb County Probate Court. Hubert was successful. The relatives and The State appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Georgia who still sided with Hubert. Hubert, the lone Cobb County attorney in his second floor walk up, defeated many well funded attorneys and the Attorney General of the State of Georgia. Against all odds, Hubert had remained fiercely loyal and determined to see justice done for his former client, though many years gone.
And like in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Hubert’s life touched many, many people who may never know him and may never know the wonderful gift he helped give them. The Estate work that Hubert did for Ms. Price, the work that he defended vigilantly for years, resulted in the wonderful park on Stilesboro Road, The Leone Hall Price Memorial Park.
Hubert’s office is still there. Now it sits empty, it’s desk still scattered with the many historical articles Hubert published through the years. The framed picture of our President of 1962 still hangs where Hubert placed it. But Hubert is not there to gaze upon it anymore. Atticus Finch has left the building.
Go to the Leone Hall Price Memorial Park this weekend. Walk the trails, enjoy the shade. Remember Hubert, his service to his clients and his service to our community.