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Probate judge honored
Term as leader concludes with surprise award
Forsyth County Probate Court Judge Lynwood “Woody” Jordan Jr. visits with his chief clerk, Melanie Pruitt, and her husband, Alan. Jordan received the 2011 Outstanding Probate Judge Award during the Probate Court Judges of Georgia’s banquet Wednesday. - photo by Jennifer Sami

ATHENS — As far as Forsyth County Probate Court Judge Lynwood “Woody” Jordan Jr. knew, he would turn over the reins to the new president and maybe thank a few people who helped him during his term.

But Jordan was in for a surprise Wednesday night during the Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia’s annual banquet and awards ceremony at the University of Georgia.

While Jordan had anticipated a plaque for his year of service as the council president, he wasn’t expecting to receive the 2011 Outstanding Probate Judge Award.

“I didn’t know about it,” he said. “I was just floored basically. I was speechless.”

The council is composed of the 159 active probate court judges in Georgia and all probate judges emeriti.

The honor was dubbed by Judge Darin McCoy, chairman of the awards and recognition committee, as the council’s version of “the people’s choice award because the recipients were selected by you.”

Jordan was presented the award by last year’s recipient, Judge Tammy Brown, who said the title is “the greatest honor a probate judge can receive from their peers.”

She said there was no one more deserving this year than Jordan.

“As vice president-elect of the probate judges council, he set the bar high by visiting every district across the state of Georgia,” Brown said. “Probate judges across the state learned very quickly how dedicated and determined he was to do an excellent job.”

“[He] has gone above and beyond the call of duty. He is a mentor to many, many of us across the state.”

Jordan was selected not only for his work with the council, but also his involvement with his court.

“He is very active in his local community,” Brown said. “He’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t want to have any part of something unless he gives it all he’s got. He’s taught me so much.”

When it was his turn to present the awards, Jordan selected a handful of judges for his president’s award.

The group he selected worked together to improve education and training for new judges.

“They’ve done a lot of new things about education and training and that sort of thing, and that was one of the things that I pushed a lot,” he said.

“I’ve just been hearing from all the judges how much they appreciate what I did. But I appreciate what they did.”

Jordan received his undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta, after which he served in the U.S. Army.

He then graduated cum laude from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.

Jordan practiced law in Cumming from 1975 until his election as probate judge in 2004, concentrating in later years on estate planning, wills, estates and probate.

He served as county administrator and county guardian/conservator for 15 years prior to his election. He was county attorney from 1975-85.

A member of the First United Methodist Church in Cumming, Jordan is married to the former Susan Davenport Finnigan, whom he met at Emory.

They have three children and nine grandchildren.