Funeral services for former state Sen. Hugh Gillis Sr., Georgia's longest serving lawmaker, are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church of Soperton.

Gillis, 94, died Tuesday at Meadows Regional Hospital in Vidalia. Former state Rep. DuBose Porter of Dublin said Wednesday that Gillis became ill about two weeks ago.

Porter didn't know the nature of Gillis' illness. Although Gillis lost his eyesight two years ago, Porter said he remained active and could get around his office until recently.

A lifelong Democrat, Gillis was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1941. He was elected to the state Senate in 1957 and again in 1962. He served in the Senate 42 years before retiring in 2004.

During his legislative career, Gillis worked with 13 governors and served for 55 years. He also served as Senate President Pro-tem for six years.

Noting that Gillis was his state senator, Porter described Gillis as "absolutely one of the best" lawmakers in the General Assembly. Porter noted that among other things, Gillis worked with the Georgia Forestry Commission and was instrumental in getting the medical school at Mercer University.

"That was one of his biggestcontributions, I think, to make sure it happened," Porter said.

In conjunction with that, Gillis served on the initial board of trustees for the Mercer Medical School. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Mercer in 2001.

The family will receive friends at Sammon Funeral Home from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. Burial will be in the Gillis Family Cemetery in Treutlen County.

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