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“Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord”: Hundreds remember the legacy of Stephan Mickle at courthouse renaming

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 6:34 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -A man of many firsts, Judge Stephan Mickle died of cancer in early 2021.

“My father passed away almost a year ago today,” said Mickle’s daughter, Stephanie. In a years’ time, plans to rename the Alachua County Criminal Courthouse in Stephan Mickle’s honor brought hundreds to Downtown Gainesville. The Alachua County Commission unanimously approved the decision.

“You are the reason why we are here today,” said Mickle’s wife of more than 50 years, Evelyn.

RELATED STORY: Alachua County commissioners approve courthouse plans in honor of Judge Stephen Mickle

The crowd represented the corners of the community where Mickle left his impact. Members of Mt. Carmel church, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, the judiciary and Alachua County Public Schools were just a few present to celebrate Mickle’s life and accomplishments in the courthouse, in the church and in the community.

“Obviously I miss him every single day. But I’m so happy this is such a wonderful occasion for the community, for the state, for so many people,” said Stephanie.

Although, being a trailblazer was turbulent. Mickle was the first African American undergraduate at the University of Florida and the first Black judge in a number of courthouses.

“Being the first African-American in so many levels, county and circuit. It meant he went places to outlying counties and places where people had never seen a Black judge and certainly weren’t really happy about it and so he protected us in those ways as well.”

RELATED STORY: Courthouse Renaming Committee celebrates Judge Stephan Mickle’s legacy through a scholarship contest

Mickle is remembered as a family man to those closest to him and as a trailblazer to the community.

“Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the lord,” said Midori Lowry, she worked with Mickle as a law clerk for 16 years and recalls one of his famous mottos.

Another longtime colleague, Keisha Stokes-Hough, who Mickle hired straight from law school shares how she remembers his legacy.

“They should know that Judge Mickle had a big heart for everyone and that he took every case that came before him very seriously and compassionately,” added Stokes-Hough.

Hundreds including law enforcement, elected and religious leaders joined in honor of the judicial giant.

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