Retired Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin S. Arrington Sr. dead at 82

Retired Fulton County Superior Court Judge and former City of Atlanta council president Marvin S. Arrington, Sr., has died at the age of 82.

Arrington Sr. died peacefully at his home on the morning of July 5. He was surrounded by his loved ones at the time, according to a release from his family.

Arrington Sr., who graduated from Emory University Law School in 1967, had been a fixture in Atlanta politics since the late 1960s. He was elected to the Atlanta Board of Alderman (now called Atlanta City Council) in 1969 and became president in 1980.

In 1997, he ran for mayor of Atlanta but lost to incumbent Bill Campbell.

He was appointed to Fulton County Superior Court Judge in 2002 by then Gov. Roy Barnes and retired in 2012.

His son, Marvin Arrington Jr., is also a lawyer and serves as District 5 commissioner of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

A documentary was released in February that showcases the life of Arrington Sr. Arrington Jr. and Director Adelin Gasana stopped by Good Day Atlanta to talk about it. Watch the interview in the player above. 

The family says they will announce arrangements for Arrington Sr. after details have been finalized. A cause of death was not released by the family. 

Mayor Dickens has issued the following statement

"Making My Mark: The Story of a Man Who Wouldn’t Stay in His Place."

"That is what Marvin Arrington, Sr. titled his autobiography, and it could not have been more fitting.

"Judge Arrington has passed and Atlanta has lost a lion.

"I cannot, at this moment, think of a single person who loved Atlanta more than he loved us. And we will always be grateful that he indeed ‘wouldn’t stay in his place.’ If it is true that love ought to look like something, then Judge Arrington’s love of Atlanta came in the form of working hard to see his hometown grow into its greatness and pushing us to be better, to do better. Yet he never asked more of us than he was willing to give.

"He was Atlanta through and through. A ‘Grady Baby,’ Judge Arrington graduated from Clark College and later became one of Emory University Law School’s first Black graduates. He served on the Atlanta Board of Aldermen, and later as president of the Atlanta City Council. He was an accomplished lawyer and Superior Court Judge.

"I am honored to call him my Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity brother and I am honored to have known him as one of the exceptional leaders of Atlanta.

"On behalf of this entire city, I am sending my sincere and heartfelt condolences to his son Marvin Jr., daughter Michelle, and the entire Arrington family. We pray that a merciful God grants you comfort and peace during this difficult period."

District 10 Council member Andrea L. Boone issued the following statement on the passing:

"Marvin Arrington Sr. was a trailblazer. He had a remarkable impact on our city and an unwavering commitment to public service. 

"He was a true pioneer as he integrated Emory University Law School by becoming one of the first Black graduates and was an instrumental and integral part of our city’s political landscape for decades. 

"In 1969, he was elected to the Atlanta Board of Aldermen at age 28, one of the youngest to do so. After the change to the City’s charter in 1974, he became an Atlanta Councilman, and in 1980, became the Council’s president, a role that he served in for 17 years. 

"He also had a distinguished career as a Fulton County Superior Court judge and was highly respected for his remarkable tenure on the bench.

"He also had a very close relationship with my late father, the Reverend Joseph E. Boone, and he supported those involved in the civil rights movement. They were both from the same side of town. 

"As we reflect on his tremendous impact, my thoughts and prayers are with his former wife, Marilyn, and his children, Fulton County Commissioner Marvin S. Arrington Jr., Esquire, and Michelle Arrington, Esquire, as well as his extended family and friends. He was a truly seminal figure in our city’s history and his legacy in public service will be everlasting."