Sonny Seiler, attorney who raised Uga mascots, dies at age 90

Sonny Seiler, a name synonymous with Georgia athletics for more than half a century, has died.Seiler and wife Cecelia and family raised English Bulldogs that served as Ugas, the live mascot that became perhaps the most famous in all of college sports.Frank. W. “Sonny” Seiler, died Monday in his hometown of Savannah after a short illness, according to UGA.Seiler, 90, was still a regular present at athletic board meetings as an emeritus member.He was an attorney made famous for serving as lead defense counsel in the Jim Williams murder trials featured in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.Seiler and his wife brought their English Bulldog to the season-opening game in 1956 at the request of coach Wally Butts.The Seiler family has raised a continual line of Bulldogs up through Uga XI who is scheduled to make his regular season debut at Saturday’s season opener.UGA president Jere Morehead extended condolences to the Seilers in a statement released Monday night.“Sonny’s contributions to the University of Georgia as a student and alumnus were innumerable, and his loyalty to his alma mater was unmatched,” Morehead said. “His legacy will live on forever in the history and traditions of this great institution.”Seiler was a “Double Dawg” UGA graduate–a B.B.A. in 1956 and later a J.D.He was a senior partner of the law firm Bouhan Falligant which he joined in 1960. He was president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association, member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Student Educational Fund, Chairman of the University of Georgia School of Law Board of Visitors, member of the Presidents Club, and member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation.  “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sonny Seiler,” Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said. “Mr. Seiler was a dear friend who I cherished and will miss very much. He was an iconic figure at the University of Georgia for the past almost 70 years. Because of his generosity, Uga is the most beloved and recognizable mascot in all of college athletics. We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for building a legacy that will continue for years to come. Please join me in lifting the Seiler family up in prayer during this difficult time.” At UGA, Seiler was president of Sigma Chi fraternity and of the Interfraternity Council. He was a member of the swim team.Following law school, Seiler served in the Army as a First Lieutenant. He also served six years as an officer in the Georgia National Guard, 230th Field Artillery.Seiler is survived by children, Cecelia Swann Seiler and Charles Wilkins Seiler (Wendy) of Savannah, Bess Seiler Thompson (Shannon) of St. Simons Island, GA, and Sara Seiler Story (Todd) of Athens, GA., seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Cecilia Gunn Seiler.

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