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‘Bar meeting’ is surprise party for former DA

The Covington County Bar Association invited its members to a Friday meeting hosted by attorneys Mark and Anne Christensen, and made much ado about making sure a certain member – Grady Lanier – was in attendance.

But the lunch meeting was actually a surprise birthday for Lanier, who turned 74 on Friday. Lanier was working a property line case with a client and worried well-wishers by arriving a little late.

“I was very surprised,” he said.

Lanier said it was the second surprise party of his lifetime. The first was when he reached 65.

“By then, I’d lived longer than my family members,” he said. “My grandfather died at 54, and by father only made it to 63.”

The luncheon was capped off with a birthday cake that looked like a briefcase and law book decorated with icing to mimic Lanier’s trademark yellow sticky notes. He often leaves them on the front door of his office with messages like “out to lunch.”

Asked what advice he’d give to someone who wanted to still be as active as he is at 74, he said “Keep your mind active, and stay active.”

Lanier is a former Covington County district attorney.

Among those attending were (front row) Mark Christensen, Lanier, Anne Christensen; (second row) William Alverson, Maci Hamilton-Jessie, Rod Sylvester, Trey Burgess, and Mark Murphy; (third row) Mike Jones Jr., John Jones, Stacy Brooks, Larry Grissett, Meredith Peters, and Stephanie Cotton; (back row) Corey Bryan, Ab Powell, Manish Patel, Paul Adams, and John Peek.