Frank C. Mills III was a Superior Court judge on the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, which serves Cherokee, from 1981 until he retired as Chief Judge on Dec. 31, 2012.
In recognition of those years on the bench, the county Board of Commissioners voted in December to rename the justice center — which in the early 1990s took the place of the Historic Cherokee Courthouse next door — in his honor.
Those in attendance at the naming ceremony in downtown Canton on Monday seemed pleased to take a few steps back and see where Mills’ name had been affixed to the front of the building.
The building now reads its permanent name: Frank C. Mills III Cherokee County Justice Center.
Chief Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris led the ceremony Monday and shared his thoughts on Mills, who he said was a “tireless student of the law.”
Harris said Mills took his 30-plus years on the bench to rule fairly and help others whenever possible.
“No one places a higher premium on honesty and character,” Harris said. “It is his nature to serve others and make the world a better place. And I can’t think of a better legacy.”
Board of Commissioners Chairman Buzz Ahrens also remarked on Mills’ character and long career.
Ahrens said when Mills came on as Superior Court Judge of the Blue Ridge Circuit in 1981, he became the youngest in Georgia.
Ahrens said the former judge’s work in the law arena is evident in the hundreds of trials he presided over in his time.
But Ahrens said Mills has also worked for Cherokee County outside of the courtroom, giving “truly outstanding service” to the community.
Mills has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America, the Jaycees, the Canton Rotary Club, the American Red Cross, the Cherokee County Humane Society and others, Ahrens said.
“I understand this is the short list,” Ahrens said.
In spite of Ahrens’ and Harris’ glowing words, Mills took his time remarking to the courthouse employees and county officials Monday morning to thank those who helped him along the way.
“I’m not sure I deserve this,” Mills said. “What I do know is that the people that I worked with all these years made this possible. I don’t feel like my name is any better than the rest of theirs.”
Harris said by affixing Mills’ name to the Justice Center, “this building is honored.”