Charles D. Black (attended 1947-48), aged 82, one of the charter students when Truett-McConnell opened its doors in September 1947, passed away on September 3, 2008, following a brief battle with cancer. He was founder and owner of Charles Black Construction Company, a large company that does commercial construction-office buildings, public schools, college buildings, hospitals and the like. He was a veteran of World War II and attended TMC as a veteran, being a charter member of the Veterans Club at TMC. He refereed TMC’s home basketball games for the first few years that the college had a team and was paid $5 for each game he refereed. He and his wife, Dot, were loyal basketball fans. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Jo Cook Black; a son, Bud, and his wife, Margie (both TMC alums); and a daughter, Lynda Black Lunsford. Two other sons, Monte and Chris, preceded him in death. Surviving also are one sister, three brothers, eight grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Lillian Lounell Mullis (faculty 1948-1956), aged 86, passed away in her sleep on Tuesday morning, February 10, 2009, in Asheville, NC, where she had lived for several years in a Methodist retirement home, Givens Estates. A native of North Carolina, Dr. Lounell Mullis came to the TMC faculty in the school’s second year of operation. After her years at TMC, she taught in other institutions of higher learning, retiring from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. She was a trusted friend and advisor to all who knew her, and her work and influence in molding Truett-McConnell in its early, formative years cannot be overestimated. She is survived by one sister, two nephews and two nieces.
David C. Jordan (class of 1949) of Athens, GA, passed away on November 5, 2008. He was a charter student of TMC and in the first graduating class in 1949. After leaving TMC, he attended Mercer University and the University of Georgia. He was a school teacher and later became Director of the State of Georgia YMCA, from which he retired after 30 years of service. In 2006, the Georgia YMCA created the DAVID C. JORDAN AWARD to be given each year to the Georgia YMCA Teacher of the Year. He also served as a bi-vocational minister, pastoring several churches in Oglethorpe, Clarke and Greene counties for 52 years. Survivors include his wife, a niece and several cousins. His influence is still strong at Truett-McConnell because, during his first term as a student in 1947, he designed the college seal still in use by Truett-McConnell.
Jack W. Smith (class of 1949), aged 83, of Cleveland passed away on April 27, 2009, at his residence. He was a member of the first graduating class from TMC in the spring of 1949. He served with honor in the US Army during World War II, receiving the Purple Heart for his service. He owned and operated Cleveland Tire Company for over 40 years and was a volunteer with the White County Fire Department, as well as a volunteer leader with Boy Scout Troop 48. He was active in the Cleveland United Methodist Church and was an avid gardener, who loved animals and his family very much. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Vivian Vandiver Smith; two sons; one daughter; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and one brother.
Doyle Lillian Sutton (class of 1949), aged 93, of Cleveland passed away on May 12, 2008, at Bell Minor Home in Gainesville. She was a member of the first graduating class of TMC in 1949 and probably the oldest living alumnus of the college at the time of her death. She was a member of the Cleveland United Methodist Church and never missed a service as long as she lived in her home in Cleveland. She is survived by a nephew, Kenneth Crane, and a niece, Louise Crane Holcomb (Mrs. Jack Holcomb) of Gainesville.
Rayann Nix Reed (class of 1950) of Cleveland passed away on September 28, 2006, as a result of a massive stroke. She was a bookkeeper who worked for several years in the business office of Truett-McConnell College and then for a number of years for Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, from which she retired. She is survived by her husband, Ed Reed; one daughter, Rhonda Bonin; and twin granddaughters, Rachel and Amy Bonin.
Herbert C. Ruark (class of 1950) of Clarkesville passed away on April 11, 2007, following a battle with colon cancer. He was a retired insurance agent. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; one son, Clark; one daughter, Elizabeth; three brothers; one sister; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
William E. (Bill) Nash (class of 1952) of Athens passed away on June 4, 2006, at his residence. Rev. Nash was a retired minister, having pastored Bogart, Grantville, Mars Hill, Redan and East Athens Baptist churches. He is survived by his wife, Zue Nash; one son; three grandsons; a sister, Patricia Millwood; and a brother, Dr. Robert N. (Bob) Nash.
Mary Helen Williams Pickett (class of 1953) of Adrian, GA, passed away on April 18, 2006, following an extended illness. She is survived by her husband, Rev. Robert Pickett; two sons and three grandchildren.
Gene Tunney Bowman (class of 1954) of Perry, GA, passed away on December 13, 2007, following a long siege with cancer. Dr. Bowman was a retired Baptist pastor and associational director of missions. He is survived by his wife, Betty; brother, Jack, of Ocala, FL; brother, Bob, of Perry; a brother-in-law; a sister-in-law; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. The Bowman family has been a loyal TMC family through several decades. Gene and both of his brother attended TMC, as well as two of his nephews.
Bluford M. Dyer (class of 1954) of Blairsville passed away on December 1, 2006. His wife, Annie Jo Shook Dyer, also a TMC alum, preceded him in death. Their daughter, Jounida Dyer Porter, is a TMC alum as well.
Donald L. Folsom (class of 1954) of Villa Rica passed away on April 15, 2006, after an extended battle with Parkinson’s disease. He had a long career in the ministry and in serving Georgia Baptists through his work with the Georgia Baptist Foundation. He was active in the Truett-McConnell Alumni Association, having served as president at one time. He is survived by his wife, Myra; three sons-Merrill, Alan and Scott-and a daughter, Andrea Folsom Gray. The Folsoms are a loyal TMC family. Don Folsom, two of his sisters, two of his sons, his daughter, two daughters-in-law, and his son-in-law all are alumni of TMC.
Douglas Rigsbee (class of 1954), aged 76, of Lula passed away on May 31, 2009, following an extended bout with muscular dystrophy. A native of Durham County, NC, he was a US Army veteran, having served in the Korean Conflict and was a lifetime member of the Gainesville Chapter of Disabled American Veterans. Doug was a Baptist minister with more than 52 years of dedicated service. He is survived by his wife, Lucille Campbell Rigsbee (also a TMC alum) and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his daughter, one sister and one brother.
John Neal (Toby) Tolson (class of 1954) of Bedford, TX, passed away on July 27, 2006. He was a retired professor of religion.
Frances Carnes Allen (attended mid-1950s) of Penney Farms, FL, passed away on September 5, 2008. Her husband, David Allen, writes: “She enjoyed her time at Truett-McConnell and often spoke of the wonderful memories that she had.”
Charlotte Ethridge Kenerly (class of 1955) of Snellville passed away on March 24, 2006. She was preceded in death by both her husband and her only child, TMC alum Kathy Kenerly.
Shirley King Ledbetter (class of 1955) passed away on November 14, 2008, at her residence in Augusta, GA. A memorial service was held at Whole Life Ministries, where she served as Dean of Christian Life School of Theology, a branch of Beacon University of Columbus, GA, on whose Board of Directors she served. After leaving Truett-McConnell, she continued her education at Georgia Southern University and earned her master’s and specialist’s degrees at Augusta State University. An educator with the Richmond County Board of Education, she served as a teacher and an assistant principal and concluded her career as principal of Lake Forest Elementary School. She retired from public school education in 1990. She was a highly respected educator and friend to many.
Weyman (Chet) Parham (class of 1956) of Atlanta passed away on July 31, 2007, following several years of declining health. He enjoyed a career as a country musician and was inducted on April 12, 2004 into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Phillip S. Shell (class of 1956) of Montgomery, AL passed away on June 23, 2006, following a two-year illness. He had a long career as a minister of music, youth and education and a pastor in several churches in the Montgomery area. He is survived by his widow, Julia; one son; one daughter; three grandchildren; and two sisters.
James Travis (J. T.) Tyson (class of 1957), age 88, of Mount Airy, GA, passed away on April 18, 2008, following a massive stroke. J. T. was a graduate of Truett-McConnell and the University of Gerogia. He pastored various churches for a period of 50 years. He also served as a trustee of Truett-McConnell, and he and his wife volunteered to help set up the Alumni Office and alumni records at TMC during the early days of the college. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary Coarsey Tyson; one son, Travis Tyson; three daughters, Myra Mitchell of Dalton, Nell Doris Harris of Mount Airy, and Lynne Hise of Mount Airy; 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Mary Coarsey Tyson (class of 1957), aged 87, of Mount Airy, GA, passed away on February 6, 2009, following an extended battle with heart disease. Born in Tift County, GA, she was a retired public school teacher and a homemaker, as well as a wonderful pastor’s wife. Her husband of 68 years, Rev. J. T. Tyson, preceded her in death several months earlier. She is survived by one son, Travis Tyson, of Dalton; three daughters, Myra Mitchell of Dalton, Nell Doris Harris and Lynne Hise of Mount Airy; one sister, Grace McKinney, of Macon; 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Not only were both Mary and J. T. Tyson alumni of Truett-McConnell, but so were three of their children and several of their grandchildren.
Rodney W. Brown (class of 1958) died during the last week of April 2008. He lived in Tallapoosa, GA, where a memorial service was held on Sunday, April 27, 2008.
Edward Sisson (class of 1958), aged 77, of Griffin, GA, passed away at his home on February 8, 2009, following an extended illness. He served for over 50 years as a full-time pastor and after his retirement from full-time service, as an interim pastor in churches in Lavonia, Thomaston, Flowery Branch and Griffin. He served in the US Army on the front lines in the Korean War. After he completed his work at Truett-McConnell, he entered the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1960. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary McVey Sisson; one son; two daughters; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild, as well as one brother. His great Christian witness left a lasting impression on family members and faithful church members whose lives he touched.
George Post (class of 1959) of Duluth, GA, passed away on November 13, 2007, following a period of declining health. He was a retired public school educator and coach and was preceded in death by his wife, Esterlee Eberhart Post (also a TMC alum). He is survived by a daughter, Sabrina Post Couch; her husband, Randall; and their son, Harrison Couch, as well as one brother and two sisters. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Board of Visitors of Truett-McConnell and was always a loyal and generous friend and alumnus of the college.
Arthur E. Cardin (class of 1960) of Toccoa, aged 74, passed away on September 21, 2009. He was a Baptist minister for 48 years and pastored Friendship Baptist Church in Hiawassee, Haddock Baptist Church in Haddock, First Baptist Church in Grantville, Cross Roads Baptist Church in Carnesville, Mt. Olive Baptist Church in East Point, and First Baptist Church in Bloomingdale. He was also a licensed funeral director in Georgia and had been an employee of the Ginn Funeral Home in Carnesville for many years. He is survived by his mother; his wife, Carolyn Jenkins Cardin (also a TMC alum); two daughters; two sons; six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; two sisters; and one brother.
Willis Melvin (Mel) Sheppard (class of 1960), aged 71, of Avondale Estates, GA, passed away on January 23, 2008, from a massive heart attack. Mel had worked for 46 years with Pan Am Testament League in distribution of Bibles and Christian literature. He is survived by a brother and two sisters.
Jerry G. Armour (class of 1961), aged 67, of Gainesville, GA, passed away on January 24, 2009, following an extended illness. He had been co-owner of Esquire Mobile Homes for 25 years. Survivors include his wife, Kay Harrington Armour (also a TMC alum); three sons; one daughter; and five grandchildren.
Janice Braziel McNatt (class of 1961) of Duluth passed away on January 29, 2009. She was an attorney in Atlanta. She is survived by two daughters and one brother.
Terry Price (class of 1961) of Toccoa, GA, passed away on September 11, 2007, following an extended illness with cancer.
Celeste Bagwell Forrester (class of 1963) of Oakwood, GA, passed away on May 18, 2008, following a courageous battle with an extended illness. She is survived by her husband, Reggie Forrester; a daughter and son-in-law; and two grandchildren.
Herman J. Roper (class of 1964) of Helen, GA, passed away on January 8, 2007, following an extended illness. He was a retired taxidermist and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He is survived by his widow, Barbara; one son; one daughter; two grandsons; three brothers; and five sisters.
Marlon F. Thomas (class of 1964), aged 70, passed away on January 2, 2009, following an extended illness. A native of Pendergrass, GA, he served a number of Baptist churches as pastor or minister of music for 50 years. He was a graduate of Antioch Bible College and Seminary with a bachelor’s degree in Bible and a master’s degree in theology. Gwinnett-Hall Bible College, where he taught courses for over 25 years, awarded him an honorary doctorate in theology. He is survived by his wife, Angie; his mother; a son; a daughter; six grandchildren; and two brothers.
Neal C. Britt (class of 1967), aged 60, of Duluth, GA, passed away on September 1, 2007, from complications following cancer surgery.
Sami Ammari (class of 1968) passed away on October 15, 2008, following a brief illness. Born in Jordan, he was a Baptist minister and, at the time of his death, was pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Hiawassee, GA. At the time of his death, Dr. Ammari was serving as a trustee of Truett-McConnell College and as a volunteer chaplain for Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. He is survived by his wife, Hripsimé Ammari, of Gainesville; one daughter, Ruthie Pfeiffer, and her husband, Tim, of Golden, CO; two grandsons; three sisters; and two brothers.
Cindy Moss Savage (class of 1971) of Covington, GA, passed away on March 27, 2007, following an extended batatle with cancer. She was an elementary school teacher and married to Terry Savage, also a TMC alumnus.
Martha Elizabeth (Beth) Rogers (attended 1974-75), aged 54, passed away on July 18, 2009, in a hospital near her home in North Augusta, South Carolina. She overcame many obstacles in her life and was an inspiration to all who knew her, always keeping her faith in the Lord. She is survived by her parents, two brothers, a niece and five nephews.
Richard Kelly Watts (class of 1975), aged 53, passed away on December 7, 2008, at his residence in Canton, NC. A native of Haywood County, NC, he was a graduate of Truett-McConnell and Mars Hill College with music degrees. He also graduated from UNCA with a degree in philosophy. He was a career radio announcer, having earned his radio license at age 11. He is survived by his wife, a son, two daughters, and three brothers.
Vincent L. (Vince) Sexton III (faculty member 1977-2003), aged 69, of Athens, GA, passed away December 20, 2008, following a lengthy period of declining health. A native of Bluefield, VA, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and a master’s degree in history from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He did additional post-graduate work in history at the University of Georgia. He was employed by TMC as an adjunct history instructor and eventually joined the full-time faculty at the college’s Watkinsville campus. He was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Athens. Survivors include one son, one daughter, four grandchildren and one brother.
Patricia (Pat) Stonecypher (class of 1978), aged 74, of Cleveland, GA, passed away on September 22, 2007, at the Gateway Health and Rehabilitation Center in Cleveland following an extended bout with emphysema and heart disease. She is survived by her husband, two daughters, three sons, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Lynn Mayes Fitzgerald (class of 1982) of Oakwood passed away on September 16, 2006, following a 25-year battle with multiple sclerosis. She is survived by her husband, Mike Fitzgerald; a daughter, Jessica; one sister, Lisa Mayes Park; parents, Thom and Diana Mayes; and parents-in-law, Rodney and Alice Fitzgerald.
Scott Williams (class of 1984), aged 41, of Social Circle, GA, passed away on March 29, 2008, following a long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; two sons, Nicholas and Landon; mother and step-father; and father and step-mother; one sister; and his twin brother.
David Scott Kaltenbach (class of 1985), aged 41, of Clermont passed away on April 18, 2006, following an extended illness. He is survived by his father and four sisters.
Michael C. Gailey (class of 1988), aged 40, passed away on December 26, 2008, at his residence. He earned an Associate in Applied Science degree from Truett-McConnell in 1988 in the joint enrollment program with North Georgia Technical Institute. Later he attended Piedmont College also. He was a youth group leader and Vacation Bible School teacher at Prospect United Methodist Church. He was a copier technician with Duplicating Products and was a volunteer coach and worker in 4-H Club in Banks County. An avid woodsman, he loved to hunt and fish and was a beekeeper and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Gina Kesler Gailey; two daughters; his parents; one brother; and two grandmothers.
Vickie Kay Shiflet (class of 1992), aged 57, of Hartwell passed away on January 25, 2007, after being struck by a truck. She had retired only weeks before as vice president of office services for Hart Electric Membership Corporation.
Betsy Faith Wynne (class of 1992), aged 39, of Athens, GA, passed away on April 6, 2008, from colon cancer. Most alumni remember Betsy as a lovely young lady who met the challenges of cerebral palsy from the confines of a wheel chair with strength, good nature and grace. She is survived by her parents and one sister.
Charles Thayer Griffin (attended 1998-1999 on Watkinsville campus), aged 30, passed away on February 2, 2009. Graveside services were held in Riverside Cemetery in Macon. During his youth, he obtained his Eagle Scout designation and attended Stratford Academy in Macon. At the time of his death, he was employed at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. He is survived by his parents, one sister, two grandmothers, seven aunts and uncles and eight cousins.
Colby Hayes (attended ’00-’01), aged 26, of Alpharetta, GA, passed away suddenly on May 13, 2006. He founded InHim Ministries to promote the gospel message of Jesus Christ to students and youth and to teach them how to live freely in Christ. He is survived by a fiancée, his parents and siblings.
Nathaniel (Woo) Talley, Jr. (attended ’05-’07), aged 20, of Cedartown, GA, passed away on July 3, 2007, from a blood disease. Woo was a current TMC student and only two courses short of receiving his Associate in Business degree from Truett-McConnell. He was a member of New Bethel Baptist Church and played drums for the gospel group Chozen.
Ashley Collis (attended ’06-’07), aged 19, of Powder Springs, GA, passed away on March 22, 2008, as a result of an automobile crash as she drove home for Easter weekend from the University of West Florida, where she was a sophomore. Ashley attended TMC during her freshman year and was a star runner on the Lady Bears Cross Country Team. She is survived by her parents, Keith and Melissa Collis; two brothers, Justin and Cameron Collis; and her grandmother.
No Additional Information Available on the Following:
John Michael (Mike) Anderson, aged 57, of Greenville, SC, passed away on October 23, 2006.
Sara Franklin, aged 62, of Loganville, GA, passed away on November 16, 2006.
John C. Wofford, aged 79, of Gainesville, GA, passed away on January 2, 2007.Return to News Archive