A salute to three judges in the Fernandina Beach High School Class of 1967

By Susan Hardee Steger
February 25, 2021

How many high school graduating classes of approximately 100 students can produce three judges?  Well, we know of one and that is Fernandina Beach High School’s Class of 1967.   Today, we recognize the three judges, one of whom happens to be my recently retired fraternal twin sister.

The late Judge Granville C. “Doc” Burgess, Judge Celeste Hardee Muir, and Judge Wesley Poole.

Judge “Doc” Burgess became Nassau County Judge in  2006 after the retirement of the late Judge Robert Williams.  Judge Burgess was a man of few words, but throughout his life, when Burgess spoke, people listened.  His family roots ran deep in Nassau County.  His grandfather Dr. David Humphries, healed the sick and delivered a lot of babies in Nassau County.  My mother was one.   Burgess’ fellow classmates began to call him “Doc” because of his grandfather; a much shorter name than Granville.  Judge Burgess died in 2012 and Nassau County mourned his loss.

For 35 years, Judge Celeste Hardee Muir has served in Miami/Dade.  She was appointed by Governor Bob Graham (D) at the age of 36  to the county court, and later  Governor Robert Martinez (R) appointed her as a circuit court judge.   She was known for her judicial temperament.  Muir represented the probate division on her circuits’ professional committee and also served as a  member of the Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders appointed by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

After Burgess’ death, Judge Poole left his firm, Poole & Poole, and served on the bench for 7 years.  Governor Rick Scott appointed Poole in 2013.  Poole played a significant role in supporting the Veterans’ Court initiative and making it a success. The Veterans’ Court is now named in his honor.  Poole is soft-spoken and does his best to avoid the limelight; a humble man.   A compliment given is always returned.  Now retired, Judge Poole is “Of Counsel” to the firm of Poole & Poole.

(To learn more about Nassau County’s Veterans’  Court read Suanne Z. Thamm”s article  “Leave No Veteran Behind.”)




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