On Sept. 1, Nix and his wife, Charlene Scroggs Nix, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the home of their eldest son in Kennesaw. The couple met at West Fulton High School in Atlanta, but really started dating after Charlene graduated and the future judge was in law school at Emory University.
“He was a good man,” Charlene Nix recalled Tuesday about what attracted her to him. “And my parents approved.”
The couple raised five children — Ken Jr., Keith, Kevin, Kim and Karen, better known as “KaKa.” Judge Nix was also very proud of his 13 grandchildren.
He was a lifelong member of Bethany United Methodist Church, which was originally in Atlanta but moved to Smyrna.
The Nixes moved to Mableton in 1965, then to Smyrna in 1969 when they outgrew their first house, Charlene Nix said.
Longtime friends and coworkers said Judge Nix was one of the first, if not the first, Republican in Cobb County.
He was a state representative for 10 years, beginning in 1973. In 1983, he began serving as a judge in Cobb’s State Court, then was a Superior Court Judge from 1995 until his retirement on his birthday in October 2010.
He was president of the Smyrna Senior Softball League, as well as a trustee of Life University and the Cobb Hospital Authority.
Mack McDurmont served as a bailiff for 12 years in Judge Nix’s courtroom.
“He taught me humility, as much as anything,” McDurmont said. “I never saw Judge Nix demean people in the courtroom. I didn’t see him talking down to a defendant or a prosecutor. It was always on the up and up while he was trying a case.”
Cindy Heckler, Nix’s longtime court reporter, said this is the time of year when Judge Nix would start growing his beard out to play Santa.
“He was famous for multitasking,” she said. “And, he could get to the heart of the matter in a short amount of time. He would often say, ‘Brevity is next to godliness.’”
Sheila Ross, his administrative assistant, said Judge Nix had a genuine desire to help people.
“He would have lots of church people or family or friends who would need help, and he always took the time to help them and be considerate,” Ross said.
Chief Judge Robert E. Flournoy III said in a statement that Judge Nix was his mentor as a judge.
“At heart, he was a deeply spiritual person who treated everyone equally, with courtesy, dignity and respect,” Judge Flournoy said.
But, “to call Judge Nix a loyal Georgia Tech football fan would be a bit of an understatement,” Flournoy wrote.
“He had season tickets to Georgia Tech football games for over 50 years,” he said.
Robert F. Schnatmeier, Jr., president of the Cobb Bar Association, said in a statement that the legal community has lost “a dear friend and an outstanding jurist.”
“Judge Nix treated all parties that appeared before him with respect and issued fair, well-reasoned rulings,” Schnatmeier said. “He devoted countless hours volunteering his time to our organization and to his community.”
Judge Nix is survived by his widow; five children and their spouses; 13 grandchildren; and two half-siblings.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Marietta First United Methodist Church, 56 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta, with Dr. Gil Watson of Northside United Methodist officiating and the Rev. Susan Taylor and the Rev. Terry Phillips, both of Bethany United Methodist, participating.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, and from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at Carmichael Funeral Home in Smyrna.