Overview:

In 1972, he was appointed Assistant District Attorney for Clayton County. Five years later, Gov. George Busbee appointed Ison to the Superior Court bench on the newly-formed Clayton Judicial Circuit. By 1993, he was appointed Chief Judge of the circuit. Ison retired in 2003. Gov. Roy Barnes then appointed him Senior Judge of the Superior Courts.

Longtime Clayton County resident Judge William “Bill” Howard Ison died Monday, April 11, 2022. He had been at Brightmoor Hospice in Griffin.

“We are grateful for the years of service Chief Judge William Ison provided,” said Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeffrey E. Turner. “Former Chief Judge Ison was committed to upholding the justice system, serving his community and will be remembered as a great leader. The Ison family is in our thoughts and prayers.”

Ison was born in Brooks on January 24, 1935 to the late Newton and Joyce Isom. He had siblings, including Newton (Becky) Ison, Jr. of Brooks; Rev. Bonny (Dianne) Ison of Crawfordville, FL; Linda (Larry) Shepherd of DeFuniak Springs, FL; Marion (Janice) Ison of Griffin; Sherry (Tom) Gary of Marietta; and Mike (Sheila) Ison of DeFuniak Springs, FL. His sisters Brenda (Gawaine) Neal and Ruby (Prentice) Parker preceded him in death, as did his parents.

According to his obituary, after his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1959, Ison worked for Delta Air Lines as an aircraft mechanic. He graduated from John Marshall Law School in 1969 and went into private practice in Jonesboro.

In 1972, he was appointed Assistant District Attorney for Clayton County. Five years later, Gov. George Busbee appointed Ison to the Superior Court bench on the newly-formed Clayton Judicial Circuit. By 1993, he was appointed Chief Judge of the circuit. Ison retired in 2003. Gov. Roy Barnes then appointed him Senior Judge of the Superior Courts.

Ison was admitted to “all Georgia Courts, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Ison served as president of the Georgia District Attorneys Association and as president of the Clayton County Bar Association, He also was a member of the Georgia Bar Association and chairman of the Criminal Law Section.

Ison was active in numerous local groups, particularly the Boy Scouts and Kiwanis.

He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park and had served as president and lieutenant governor of the 16th Division of the Georgia District of Kiwanis International. 

Ison also was a Master Mason of Forest Park Lodge #399, as well as a member of Scottish Rite and of the Yaarab Shriners Temple.

As chairman of the Tara District of Boy Scouts, Ison chaired the Eagle Scout Board for 22 years. His recognitions included the National Quality District Award, Tara District Boy Scout Award of Merit, Leadership Member Award of the BSA, and the Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award.

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners in 2002 recognized Ison for his “Distinguished Service and Dedication to the citizens of Clayton County” as district attorney, Superior Court judge, and Superior Court chief judge.

In 2016, the Good Shepherd Clinic honored Ison at its annual Pillar Awards.

In 2000 and 2011, Ison won the Clayton County Bar Association’s Community Service Award. Also in 2000, Ison was recognized with the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism’s Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.

Ison leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Myrtle McCullough Ison, six brothers and sisters, and several nieces and nephews. 

The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight. Services will be held at the Chapel of First Baptist Church of Jonesboro on Thursday, April 14 at 2 p.m. Rev. Allen Davis and Kirby Glaze will officiate.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent either to First Baptist Church Jonesboro, Attn: Missions Funds, or to Riley Clinic, P. O. Box 773, Jonesboro, GA 30237.

Robin Kemp

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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