In Memoriam


Grace Cromley Harper of Atlanta (’37) was surrounded by loved ones when she passed away Oct. 28. The 99-year-old former music teacher loved playing the piano, gardening, cooking, sewing and traveling.

Polly Connor Clary (’37), a lifelong resident of Harlem, Georgia, died at age 97 on Nov. 7. The retired bookkeeper’s main hobby revolved around her champion show dogs.


Walter “Herb” Jones (’49), the first Eagle Scout in Bulloch County, died Nov. 1 at age 87 in Columbus, Georgia. During his long career, he worked as an educator in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.


Earl Luther Swicord Jr. (’58) died April 23 at his St. Simons Island, Georgia, residence. The Marine Corps veteran and seafood industry executive was a past president of the Georgia Southern Alumni Association.

Imogene Groover Brannen (’58) was surrounded by her family when she died May 2 at age 87 in Statesboro. The eighth-generation resident of Bulloch County was a charter member of the Bulloch County Historical Society.

Elaine Dreggors (’58, ‘92) of Glennville, Georgia, died May 3 at Ogeechee Area Hospice. She retired after a 44-year teaching career at schools in Tattnall County, Georgia.

Billie Williams (’53) of Sylvania, Georgia, died May 14 at Hilton Head Hospital. He was born on June 14, 1932, and every year celebrated Flag Day, which fell on his birthday. The chemist served two terms as president of the Southern Society of Coatings Technology.

Betty Anne Bedingfield Wynn (’52) of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, died May 22 at age 85.

Claudia Tinker Donaldson (’58) passed away June 5 in Satellite Beach, Florida. She retired after 42 years of service to the Brevard County School System.

Doris Hagin Newsome (’50) died in June at Gentilly Gardens Senior Care Facility in Statesboro. The Effingham County, Georgia, native was a beloved elementary school teacher, first in Garden City and later in Smyrna, Georgia.

Frankie Booth Buchanan (’59) of Manor, Georgia, died May 12 at the Baptist Village Retirement Communities. She retired from Griffin Technical College after a 33-year career in education.

Gloria Brand Hill (’57) died at her Lake Oconee home in Eatonton, Georgia. The native of Montezuma, Georgia, was a retired educator.

Taylor Lamar Everett Jr. (’51) died Aug. 13 at his home in Waycross, Georgia, after an extended illness. He was a school principal for many years.

Charles Kirkland (’53), a veteran of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, passed away on September 8 in Simpsonville, South Carolina. He served in the Korean Conflict and was a teacher for many years at The Citadel.

Mary Nell Willis Wilkes (’50) died Sept. 12 at a senior living facility in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Wilkes was an elementary school teacher in Georgia for 40 years.

Haywood Boyd (’57, ‘64), age 80, passed away Oct. 12 under hospice care in Vidalia, Georgia. He was a professor of biology at Brewton Parker College for 37 years.

Murray Ricketson (’52, ‘72) of Pearson, Georgia, died July 6. He is remembered as one of Atkinson County’s legendary educators.


James Stapleton (’67, ‘80, ‘85) died Oct. 31 at his home in Alamo, Georgia. He was a public school teacher, basketball coach and ended his career as the Wilkinson County School superintendent.

Andrew Wilmot Shealy III (’67) of Gainesville, Georgia, passed away May 17. He enjoyed a long, successful career in the poultry industry and was a longtime supporter of the Humane Society.

Martha Ann Barnes Wright (’65) of Dallas, Texas, died May 25. She was a fourth grade teacher for several years.

Claire Sack Krissinger (’63) of Statesboro died at the Ogeechee Area Hospice on May 26. The lifetime member of St. Matthew Catholic Church was a licensed social worker.

Victoria Ricks (’34, ‘69), a longtime resident of Soperton, Georgia, who later moved to Eatonton, passed away at her home June 14.

Roland Olgesby (’62), a lifelong resident of Alexander, Georgia, and retired farmer died July 9.

William “Bill” Duren (’67) of Fort Mill, South Carolina, died in July. The dedicated athlete had a 35-year career with Duke Energy.

Ronald “Ron” Purdy (’63, ’67) of Calhoun, Georgia, died at his home in March. He served in the U.S. Army and was a teacher for 32 years in Georgia and South Carolina.

Bobby Davis (’62), a community leader in Crisp County, Georgia, died July 20 at his home on Lake Blackshear. He is remembered as a teacher, coach, principal and administrator in Crisp County public and private schools.

Michael Maguire (’66) of Newnan, Georgia, died Sept. 27, following a long illness. He retired from the insurance industry in 2008.

Charles Peeler Deaton (’68) of Macon, Georgia, passed away Oct. 1. He was a charter member of the Kappa Alpha Order at Georgia Southern and was the owner of Deaton Insurance Group.

James “Jimmy” R. Edgar Jr. (’69) of Jacksonville, Florida, died Oct. 3. He enjoyed new technology and working with computers.

Mary Bennett Giles Smith (’60) passed away Oct. 4, at age 99. She was a devoted member of Statesboro First Baptist Church where her husband, Dr. J. Robert Smith, pastored for many years before his death.

Novine Hickman Hamilton (’69), a lifelong resident of Georgia’s Burke County, passed away on Oct. 17. The 81-year-old was a retired teacher.

Joan Hollingsworth (’69) died Oct. 21 at Coastal Manor Nursing Home in Ludowici, Georgia. During her 37-year tenure with the Liberty County Board of Education, she worked as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal and principal.

William (Danny) Warnell (’66) died in Bakersville, North Carolina, on Oct. 23. He was an insurance agent in Pembroke, Georgia, and the owner/operator of Bryan Motor Company and Warnell Chevrolet.

Ed Hale (’60, ‘68,) of Fitzgerald, Georgia passed on Oct. 23. The longtime educator taught for almost 40 years at Fitzgerald High.


Peggy Jan Chandler (’75), a retired Navy captain, died April 20 at her home in Bethesda, Maryland. The board certified general and colorectal surgeon completed many assignments during her career in the U.S. Navy, including serving aboard the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN. Capt. Chandler received numerous awards that included the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Gerald Mixon “Mickey” Dees Jr. (’78) died suddenly April 21 at his home in Waycross, Georgia. He was a 25-year veteran with the Houston County Sheriff’s Department.

Walter Urbach Jr. (’70) of Sun City West, Arizona, died April 13 at age 80. During his career of more than 30 years in the U.S. Army, Urbach served in various command and staff positions in field artillery and aviation units including five years at the Pentagon.

William “Bill” Brent III (’72) passed away May 31 in Columbia, South Carolina, at an extended care facility. He struggled with multiple sclerosis for 25 years.

Alberta Anderson (’71) of Lake Park, Georgia, died May 31 at a relative’s home in North Augusta, South Carolina. The former educator taught in elementary and high schools in Georgia and Florida.

William “Bill” Stanford (’71) of Flemington, Georgia, died Aug. 11. He is remembered as an inspiring football and track coach in Hinesville.

John Donald Baker (’70) of Perry, Georgia, passed away on Aug. 21. He served in the U.S. Air Force and later retired from the Air National Guard.

John Mills III (’74) of Sylvania, Georgia, died Aug. 24 at the age of 82. He was the longtime superintendent of Screven County Schools.

Cissy Oliff Mercer (’72), a native and lifelong resident of Bulloch County, died in Statesboro on Sept. 15. She was an educator for 35 years.

Barry Atwood Lanier (’74, ‘10) of Metter, Georgia, passed away Sept. 16 under hospice care. The jack-of-all-trades is remembered as a pharmacist, counselor, farmer and poet.

Ellen Wilder Pryor (’74), who lived in the Atlanta area for many years, died Sept 17. In 2008, the retired CPA returned to her hometown of Forsyth, Georgia, following the death of her husband, Shepherd Pryor III.

Gary Bacon (’78) of St. Mary’s, Georgia, died Oct. 19 of a sudden illness in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a member of the State Bar of Georgia for 32 years.


Sharon Finkelstein Bolgla (’83) of Augusta, Georgia, died at her home in June. She grew up in Atlanta and was captain of the basketball team at Grady High School under coach Erk Russell.

Barry Phillip Sherrod (’80) died June 23 at the Ogeechee Area Hospice Facility in Statesboro. The native and lifelong resident of Bulloch County worked as an appraiser for many years.

Aaron Matthew “Matt” Peeler Jr. (’85) of Carrollton, Georgia, died June 22. An avid athlete, he was employed as a database analyst.

Mary Hundley Harper Turner (’83) died Aug. 11 at Hospice Savannah. She retired as an educator in Effingham County after 31 years of service.

Charles “Jeff” Allagood of Savannah died Aug. 10 at Memorial University Medical Center following an acute illness.

Helen Duncan Smith (’80, ‘87) of Newberry, South Carolina, died June 29 at the Heritage at Lowman. During her career in education, she was a teacher and an assistant principal.

Renee McBurney (’81) of Evans, Georgia, died Sept. 22. McBurney loved fishing and raising toy poodles.

Shirley Gulledge Richardson (’86) died Oct. 5 in Charleston, South Carolina, following a long illness. The widow of Dr. Charles Richardson helped establish the Ogeechee Clinic, P.A., which served the Statesboro area for more than 30 years in women’s health care and obstetrics.

Thomas Bennett (’81) of Augusta, Georgia, died Oct. 7 after a short illness.He was an educator for 38 years in the Richmond County Public School System.

Nan Elizabeth Coyle (’80) of Jacksonville, Florida, died suddenly in October. She had a long career in sales and marketing.

Al Lewis (’84), the mayor of Santa Claus, Georgia, died at home Oct. 18. He coached at schools in Effingham, Toombs and Telfair counties.


Anthony Allen (’90) of Savannah passed away in late May. He is remembered as a talented musician, lyricist and writer.

Christopher “Lax” Laxson (’95) passed away June 1 in Belgrade, Montana. He was an avid softball player and classic car enthusiast.

Marcus “Marc” Martin (’92) of Perry, Georgia, died June 12 at age 45. He was an active member of the Kiwanis Club and the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce.

James Hamilton Therrell IV (’97), an attorney in Fort Lupton, Colorado, passed away on July 17.

Ann Tilton Weil (’97) was surrounded by her family when she died Sept. 12 at her home near Savannah. The advanced practice nurse was the medical advocate for the indigent at the J.C. Lewis Health Center for many years.

Marc Smith (’99) died Sept. 15 at his Savannah home. He was a pharmacist and had a second career as a licensed professional counselor.

Janice “Sue” Brackin Hyatt (’96) passed away Sept. 25 in Suffolk, Virginia. She was a federal probation officer for 18 years in Maryland and Virginia.

John Hart Krickel (’93) of Portal, Georgia, and Philipsburg, Montana, passed away Oct. 22 at age 86. The long-serving educator earned his last degree from Georgia Southern at age 64, as a retirement hobby.

Jennifer Greer (’92) of Charlotte, North Carolina, battled brain cancer before her death Nov. 5 at age 45.

Barry Ostean (’98) of Statesboro lost his three-year battle with cancer on Nov. 20. He was a production supervisor at Viracon.

Shannon Sweeney Newsom (’97) of Portal, Georgia, died Nov. 21. She was a retired employee of Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services.


Jonas Doyle Jr. (’02), a native of Richmond County, Georgia, was surrounded by his family when he died on June 2.

Timothy “Tim” Rubnitz (’15) of Savannah died unexpectedly on July 13. The recent graduate had just started a job in Atlanta.

LaDonna Lorraine Spikes (’04, ‘11) of Waycross, Georgia, died Sept. 11 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. The family nurse practitioner was a former EMT and firefighter.

Robert Maxwell Jackson IV (’08) of Fayetteville, Georgia, passed away Oct. 18. He loved fishing, history and playing the guitar.

Bradley Stenman Mair (’12), a human resources coordinator in the Georgia Southern Student Employment Center, died suddenly in October.

Dwayne Smith (’01) of Lawrenceville, Georgia, lost a fight to cancer on Nov. 21. He worked as a senior claims adjuster.


Mikelle Calhoun, Ph.D., a College of Business professor, passed away on July 9 following a brief illness. She joined the Georgia Southern faculty in 2009 and taught international business courses.

Professor Emeritus of Biology Donald Joseph Drapalik of Statesboro died May 22. He was the expert for plant identification in the region and students remember him as someone who loved to teach field botany courses. His greatest University contribution was in developing Georgia Southern’s herbarium, which now includes 35,000 specimens.

Professor Emeritus of Industrial Technology Rex Nelson died March 20 in Dalton, Georgia. He directed several institutes and workshop and was the author and co-author of several books.

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