10.14.20 obituaries


Mary Taylor Ayres

Jesup—Mary Taylor Ayres, known as “Ruthie,” died Oct. 5, 2020.

She was born in Waycross on Oct. 19, 1929, to Annie R. Taylor and Elton Taylor. She lived in several places around Southeast Georgia but finally settled in Jesup. A retiree from Bell South Telephone Company, she spent her remaining years traveling and getting her real estate license—just because she could. She was a member of the Ben Gibbs Chapter of the Eastern Star and began learning how to use her computer to buy property while pouring all of her love into her growing family. Her pride and joy were her “precious darlin’ grandchildren” and her multitudes of great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was devoted to her late husband, M.L., and her family. She could often be seen volunteering at the elementary schools and at First Baptist Church in Jesup. When at the schools, she often “adopted” many nonbiological grandchildren along the way, many of whom still love her dearly. She was known for her generous spirit, quick wit, and unending devotion to both her Jesus and her family.

The family said it will miss her “CAPSLOCK” text messages, her video recordings, JUST on birthdays, and, most of all, her special pat-downs for special children. Many children would line up for one of her pats on the head.

Survivors include her son, Lee (Lisa) Ayres of Jesup; grandchildren, Taylor Ayres and Tori (Andrew) Grear; a great-granddaughter, Eleanor Grear; her brother, Chester (Frances) Taylor; many cousins, nieces, nephews, and many, and many nonbiological grandchildren, whom she loved as her own.

Memorial services will be held today (Wednesday) at 11 a.m. at Rinehart and Sons Chapel with the Rev. Eddie Taylor officiating.

The family will receive friends at the service.

In lieu of food and flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the First Baptist Church Youth Department, P.O. Box 1155, Jesup, GA 31598 or Hospice of South Georgia, 1425 Sunset Blvd., Jesup, GA 31545.  

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.




Screven—Dwight Stanfield, 83, of Screven died Oct. 7, 2020.

The Pierce County native had lived in Screven most of his life and was a member of Screven United Methodist Church. He was a retired Wayne County High School vocational instructor and enjoyed all outdoor activities. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran.

He was predeceased by brothers, Parnell and Cameron Stanfield.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Mary Jane Washburn Stanfield of Screven; a son, Greg (Kerry) Stanfield and granddaughter, Caroline Stanfield, all of Suwanee; a sister, Betty Murphy of Jesup; brothers, Phillip (Cynthia) Stanfield and Larry (Mary) Stanfield, both of Screven, and Wayne (Sandy) Stanfield of Atkinson; and other extended relatives.

Funeral services were held Oct. 10 at the Screven United Methodist Church with Pastor Darrell Carter officiating. Interment was in Screven City Cemetery. Active pallbearers were family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Screven United Methodist Church, c/o Diane Bennett, P.O. Box 158, Screven, GA 31560.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.      


David Mitchell


Jesup—David Mitchell “Mitch” Thompson, 67, of Jesup died Oct. 9, 2020.

He was a longtime resident of Wayne County, a former pastor of Waynes-ville Baptist Church and a member, deacon, choir member and Sunday school teacher of Calvary Baptist Church. He was a strong “Advocate of God’s Word” in his everyday life.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Vickie Griffis Thompson of Jesup; a daughter, Beth (Paul) Landon of Odum; son, Stephen (Kristi) Thompson of Waynes-ville; a sister, Christie Thompson of Jesup; two grandchildren, Layla Addis and Grayson Thompson; and other extended relatives.

Celebration of life services were held Oct. 12 at Calvary Baptist Church with Pastor Vann Dempsey officiating. Interment followed in Pinecrest Memorial Cemetery. Active pallbearers were family. Honorary pallbearers were deacons of Calvary Baptist Church.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Lilla Bagley Reynolds

Jesup—Lilla “Lil” Bagley Reynolds, 78, of Jesup died Oct. 7, 2020, under the care of Hospice of South Georgia for the past year.

The Liberty County native lived in Jesup the past 50 years and was a Baptist. She retired from Kmart as a sales clerk and enjoyed sewing and collecting angels.

Survivors include her husband of 51 years, Lloyd Reynolds of Jesup; a daughter, Julia (Brian) Bys of Jacksonville, Florida; three sons, Kenneth (Diana) Dykes, Glynn (Vanessa) Dykes and David Dykes, all of Port St. Joe, Florida; eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; a sister, Eva (Paul) Knueppel of Vance, South Carolina; and several nieces and nephews.

Graveside funeral services were held Oct. 10 in Pinecrest Memorial Cemetery with Pastor Teresa Butler officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., FL 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or Susan G. Komen, 13770 Noel Road, Suite 801889, Dallas, TX 75380.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Sharon Sheffield

Screven—Sharon Sheffield died Sept. 17, 2020. The Jeff Davis native was born Feb. 29, 1948. She had lived in Wayne County most of her life, was a member of Jesup Church of God and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She took great pride in selflessly giving and doing for her family and friends, according to her family, who said she cared deeply for others and was a master at staying in touch with relatives and friends.

She began her working career as a clerk in the maintenance department at Plant Hatch Nuclear Facility in Baxley and then was led to take over the care of her son after her mother passed away. During this time, she also owned a fabric shop in downtown Jesup. Later on, her education continued at Altamaha Technical College, where she earned her license in cosmetology and served as a beautician for several years. She wrapped up her career by retiring from the Wayne County school system’s nutrition department at Oak Vista Elementary School.

She was predeceased by her parents, Lester and Evelyn Warnock Dixon.

Survivors include her husband, Billy Ralph Sheffield of Screven; a son, Brad (Ashley) Sheffield of Statesboro; beloved grandchildren Dixon, 9, and Branan, 7; a sister, Wanda Dixon (Tommy) Elton of Cleveland, Tennessee; and a brother, Mike Dixon of Jesup.

Her family says her legacy lives on through these strong Christ followers who will hold fast to the comfort of the cross and carry memories forever as they remember her steadfast love. “The Lord is my light and salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”—Psalm 27:1. This passage is certainly one she lived by and leaves behind to her family to sustain them after her recent loss of life here on this earth, her family said.

Community graveside funeral services will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, at 4 p.m. in the Screven City Cemetery with Pastor Clayton Dowd officiating. The family will receive friends at the cemetery.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  


James Norman Beaver Sr.

Screven—James Norman Beaver Sr., 81, of Screven died peacefully at home surrounded by family Oct. 10, 2020.

The Wayne County native attended Turning Point Worship Center and was a 30-year retiree with Interstate Paper Company.

Survivors include his three daughters, Joyce Beaver of Jesup, Lydia Arledge of Callahan, Florida, and Mary (Gary) Frye of Screven; two sons, James Beaver Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina, Dewey Carnell Beaver of Jesup, and their mother, Una Faye Goss of Jesup; a brother, J.A. (Pat) Beaver of Jesup; 11 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. at Piney Grove Church of God with the Rev. Richard Dobson officiating. Interment will follow at Sunset Oaks Cemetery on Sunset Boulevard with Pastor Justin Mitchell of Turning Point officiating.

The family will receive friends at the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Georgia Hospice Care, 141 S. Macon St. Jesup, GA 31545.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Robert I. Pendergrass

Jesup—Robert I. Pendergrass, 69, of Jesup died Oct. 12, 2020, after a short illness.

The Espanola, New Mexico, native had lived in Jesup most of his life and was a proud American and Republican. He was a retired master carpenter with the Carpenters and Joiners Union and also self-employed with a love for remodeling when not spending time with his family.

Another hobby was fishing and “watching” the Atlanta Braves on the radio. He was a proud supporter of Wayne County Yellow Jackets, and he never met a stranger that he wouldn’t help, according to his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Ira and Mildred Pendergrass; in-laws, William “Bill” and Bobbie Lou Studstill; and a beloved nephew, Richard “Richie” Stud-still Jr.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Cheryl L. Studstill Pendergrass; a son, Damien “Grass” Pendergrass; a daughter, Eryn (Ricky) Waher; granddaughters, Taylor L. and Morgan McClain, Rikki Waher; a grandson, Hunter Waher; great-grandchildren, Ava Lynn Evors and Robert Aden McClain; brother, Lonnie (Connie) Pendergrass; a brother, Richard (Vicky) Stud-still; a niece, Kelli S.(Dustin) Goober; and nephews, Jack and Lonnie Pendergrass Jr.

A celebration of his life will be Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. at Rinehart Chapel with the Rev. Lonnie Pendergrass officiating. Smiles and laughter are mandatory for this celebration, along with comfortable attire, the family said.

The family will receive friends at the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Yellow Jacket Booster Club and the United Way.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.