Asbury Quillian Baldwin Jr., a distinguished judge and former state legislator who led a life of dedicated service to his family, church, community, state and nation, died March 15, 2020. He was 77.
Born Aug. 2, 1942, in Madison, Ga., Judge Baldwin credited his parents, the late Asbury Q. Baldwin and Elizabeth Thrasher Baldwin, with setting the course of his life by instilling the values of faith, honesty, hard work and fair treatment for all. He worked in his father’s drugstore, earned the Eagle Scout award and received so many perfect attendance medals from his Methodist church that he joked of “not being able to stand up straight” when he wore them. He graduated from Morgan County High School in 1960.
Baldwin attended North Georgia College, where he was named to Who’s Who and met the love of his life, Judy Parker Baldwin, whom he affectionately referred to as “Wonder Woman.” Their relationship blossomed, he said, after she defeated him in an election for class officer. They graduated in 1964 and were married on July 31st of that year.
Baldwin was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Airborne Infantry, and served on active duty from 1964-1966, followed by several years in the Reserves.
He attended the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, earning the J.D. degree in 1969 and moved to LaGrange to begin general practice with the firm of Richter & Birdsong. He was a partner in the firm of Mattox & Baldwin from 1974-1985 and partner/owner of Baldwin & Mallory from 1986 – 1995.
Baldwin loved and faithfully served First United Methodist Church from his first days in LaGrange until his death. He twice chaired the Administrative Board, taught Sunday School, headed up Sunday night worship, served as a Trustee, led the Methodist Ministries Center committee, was a beloved member of Builders Class, sang enthusiastically from his favorite pew and held many other posts, including certified lay speaker.
He and Judy lovingly raised their three children in LaGrange, supporting their church, school and community activities. He was forever proud of them and of his grandchildren.
His commitment to Boy Scouting spanned decades and included advising Explorer Post 21, chairing the Yellow Jacket District and serving on the Chattahoochee Council executive board. He assisted and encouraged many Scouts in their pursuit of merit badges and was instrumental in mentoring several Eagle Scouts. He received the Silver Beaver award in 1999.
In 1980, he was named Juvenile Court Judge of Troup County, a post he held until 1984.
A lifelong interest in politics culminated in his election to the Georgia State Senate in November of 1984. He served four terms, retiring in Jan. 1993. Among his legislative achievements, he was assistant floor leader for Gov. Joe Frank Harris in 1989-90. During the 1991-92 session, he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and was vice chairman of the Rules Committee, among other significant responsibilities.
He was appointed as Judge of the Superior Court for the Coweta Judicial Circuit by Gov. Zell Miller in 1995 and, following retirement, remained as Senior Superior Court Judge for the circuit. He served four years as Chief Judge and also was Administrative Judge for the 6th Administrative District.
During his time on the bench, Judge Baldwin served on the Governor’s Commission on Child Support and held leadership roles on the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia.
In 2015, he became Judge of Troup County Mental Health Court, a position he described as among the most rewarding of his career.
Baldwin enjoyed sports, especially football, and was president of LaGrange Gridiron Club from 1999 to 2006.
Over the years, he held dozens of civic roles, including serving on the boards of United Way, the LaGrange-Troup Chamber of Commerce, New Ventures, LaGrange College and numerous fundraising charities, among others. He was tapped by the Gridiron Secret Society at the University of Georgia in 1975 and named to Leadership Georgia in 1986. He served as president of the Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, Troup County Bar Association and the Board of Governors of Highland Country Club.
In addition to his wife, Judy Parker Baldwin, he is survived by three children, Asbury Quillian “Trey” Baldwin III and wife Lisa of Stuart, Fla., Leila Baldwin “Lei” Lydle of Atlanta and Wade Thrasher Baldwin of Boulder, Colo.; five grandchildren, Samantha Robinson, Elizabeth Lydle, Allie Baldwin, Cora Baldwin and Sean Lydle; a sister, Anne Baldwin Satterfield of Madison and brother, Barton W.Baldwin and wife Brenda of Mt. Olive, N.C.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held after the current health crisis subsides. Those desiring may make memorial gifts to First United Methodist Church, 401 Broad Street, LaGrange, GA 30240.