Judge Oliver Head served with honor and integrity
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON
Judge Oliver Pickens Head has served Columbiana, Shelby County and the nation with honor and integrity following in the footsteps of his family.
Born into a family steeped in public service and with veterans, Oliver moved to Columbiana in 1932 at age 2 and has been a Columbiana resident since.
Both his father Frank and Uncle Cage Head served during WWI and returned to Columbiana, where Frank became district attorney and twin brother Cage became probate judge in Shelby County.
Both Oliver’s maternal and paternal great-grandfathers were Civil War veterans.
Oliver graduated from Shelby County High School in 1948 and the University of Alabama and ROTC in 1952, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant.
He entered University of Alabama Law School for one year and went into combat training with orders to go to Korea.
Shortly before his deployment, First Lt. Head was in a major automobile wreck, which prevented him from combat but introduced him to his wife-to-be, Ann Birmingham, a Red Cross social worker at Fort McClelland Hospital.
“I remember when this cheerful, petite woman came into my room shortly after I had surgery,” said Oliver. “She introduced herself as Miss Birmingham. I replied, ‘Well, I’m Mr. America.’ For the next seven months she visited me on her rounds. She was so vivacious and outgoing. Soon after I got out of the hospital, we got married.”
The Heads returned to Tuscaloosa where he graduated from law school on the GI Bill and was in the Army Reserves.
After a year practicing in Tuskegee, they moved to Columbiana where Oliver opened his solo law office.
After his father retired as District Attorney, father and son opened Head and Head Law Firm, which merged in 1975 with Wallace, Ellis, Head and Fowler.
In 1990 Gov. Guy Hunt appointed Oliver Circuit Judge for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Alabama (Shelby County).
He was reelected twice and retired in 2002.
Today, the Heads are enjoying retirement, traveling and being with family.
Oliver is writing his first book, a collection of lawyer stories, “Tellable Tales of the Shelby County Bar,” to be published soon.
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