Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 2, 2013

Former county judge Garner dead at 80


Somerset —

  Most of the rock that formed the surface of the eastern half of the 88-mile Cumberland Parkway came from a quarry on Garner’s farm near Cain’s Store. 
  Money from this quarry gave Garner, a former schoolteacher, financial ability to fund one of the most hard-fought and expensive campaigns for judge-executive up to that time. 
  Garner defeated former magistrate and state representative Lavey Floyd in the 1973 GOP primary election, and Gilmore Phelps, a Democrat and popular sheriff, 6,262 to 5,473 in the November 7, 1973 general election. Garner was judge-executive when the Pulaski County Governmental Complex (courthouse) was completed in 1974.
  Following two-terms as judge-executive, Garner launched a business career that made him probably the most varied business entrepreneur in the history of Pulaski County.
  His business interests included Sav-A-Lot stores  in Campbellsville, Liberty, Russell Springs and McKee, the former Jerry’s restaurant in Somerset, a Druther’s restaurant in McKee, a Dairy Queen, Wilbert-Vaught Monument and Conder’s Service Station, both in Somerset and well as several motels. The family still owns some of these businesses
  Garner was an educator for 17 years. He started teaching in one- and two-room schoolhouses and then in the former Ferguson Independent School System before teaching in the Pulaski County School District. He was a history and social studies teacher at the former Nancy High School for about 10 years.
  “He always wanted to be county judge,” said his wife, Betty. “He said that time and time again.”
  Garner was a member of the Pulaski County Draft Board for five years. He was a member of the Kentucky County Judges’ Association and the Kentucky Coal County Judges’ Association.
  He served as chairman of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District and chair of the Lake Cumberland District Health Department.
  Garner also served on the governor’s commission to study needs of Kentucky. He was a member of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, Bradley’s Pleasure Baptist Church, a Mason and Shriner.

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