Joe Cheeley, Jr. (Photo courtesy: Jennifer Stalcup)
BUFORD — One of Gwinnett’s most well-respected attorneys passed away Friday.
Joe Cheeley Jr., 84, made a big contribution to Gwinnett’s judicial community, including the three sons that followed him into the profession.
Cheeley spent 20 years as a part-time judge, including presiding over Larry Flynt’s Hustler magazine pornography trial, where the publisher was shot and paralyzed by a sniper in Lawrenceville in the 1970s.
But he may be best known as the attorney for the Stokes v. Stokes divorce case, which established the theory of equitable division of property in the state, his son Joseph Cheeley III said.
“That changed Georgia divorce law going forward,” he said.
A judges and lawyers reading room at the University of Georgia bears the former Air Force captain’s name.
“He was a self-made man,” Cheeley III said of his father.
Superior Court Judge Michael Clark said he has fond memories of Cheeley.
“He was a perfect gentleman,” Clark said. “He was always nice, always kind.”
Cheeley is survived by sons Joseph, Bob, John and Jim and daughter Susan, as well as eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Visitations are scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Flanigan Funeral Home in Buford. A memorial service will be held later.