2.17.21 obituaries


Edgar Luther Dart

Jesup—Edgar Luther Dart, 58, died suddenly on Feb. 14, 2021, at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

A native and lifelong resident of Wayne County, he was born on Feb. 23, 1962 to the late William Robert Dart Jr. and Edna Tuten Dart. He was a graduate of Wayne County High School and was employed with the State Prison System for more than 35 years, having been at Long State Prison since 2008 and achieving the rank of sergeant.

When he wasn’t working, he loved spending time with his friends and animals and listening to music, especially the Beatles.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Kathleen “Cat” Dart of Jesup; brother, William Robert (Cheryl) Dart III of Jesup; stepdaughter, Terri (Jimmy) Jackson of Baxley, and their daughter, Carley, also of Baxley; niece, Kayla Dart of Jesup; nephew, William (Meggan) Dart of Hortense; and brother-in-law, Tommy Mixon of Jesup, and his children, Katina Robinson and Yolanda Snook.

Graveside memorial services will be held at a later date in George Cemetery with honors and flag presentation by the members of the Georgia State Prison Honor Guard Team.

Family and friends may sign the guestbook online at www.jesupfuneralhome.com.

Howard & Jones Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Esters Wright Jr.

Screven—Esters Wright Jr., 73, of Screven died unexpectedly on Feb. 12, 2021, at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

He was born on Oct. 3, 1947, to the late Esters Wright Sr. and Marie Frazier-Wright in Screven. “Buddy,” as he was affectionately known by his family and close friends, was educated in the public school system of Glynn County. He was a member of Greater St. James Temple in Screven, under the leadership of Bishop Arthur and Evangelist Havannah Green. He was a former employee of A&B Slaughterhouse and spent 30-plus years with the Department of Transportation before retiring. His favorite pastimes were fishing, and shooting pool, and he was one of the best handymen one could find. He was a true diehard Dallas Cowboys fan.

He was preceded in death by both parents, Esters and Marie Frazier-Wright Sr.; his sisters, Margaret Ladson, Lillian Joyce Johnson and Mary Alice Ladson; his brothers, Henry Lee Ladson, Jerome Ladson, George Ladson and James Wright Sr.

Survivors include his loving wife of 54 years, Dorothy Mitchell-Wright of Screven; his daughters, Tammy (Willie) Malone, Ashburne, Virginia and Trenda (Clifford Jr.) Bryant of Jesup; his son, Esters Wright of Hampton, Virginia; six grandchildren, Jamesia Wright, Jeremis Wright, Jasmine Bryant, Brandon Malone, Brianna Malone and Tahvon Esters Wright; one great-grandchild, Aria Woodcock; his sister, Catherine Ladson of Brunswick; his brothers, Jimmy Ladson of Savannah and Tommy Ladson of Brunswick; his sisters-in-law, Mother Retha (Jessie) Miles and Evangelist Havannah (Bishop Arthur) Green, both of Jesup; his brother-in-law, Joe Nathan Mitchell of Atlanta; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

There will be an hour set aside for viewing on Friday, Feb. 19, at Royal Funeral Home Chapel. Viewing for the immediate family will be held from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. A walk-through viewing for the general public will run from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Graveside services will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Screven Cemetery on the Odum-Screven Highway at 3 p.m. The remains will also be viewed on the day of services from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the graveside.

Those planning to attend services are required to wear a mask and observe the 6-foot social distancing guidelines that have been set by the local health officials and the CDC to help prevent in the spread of COVID-19.

Royal Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.



David I. “Cobb” Copeland

Jesup—David I. “Cobb” Copeland, 79, of Jesup died Feb. 9, 2021.

The Wayne County native and U.S. Army veteran was a retired civil service employee at Fort Stewart. He enjoyed fishing in his spare time.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Grace Gibbs Copeland; and siblings, Nell, Nancy, Evelyn, Reppard and Ed.

Survivors include a stepson, Keith (Tomi) Boyd of Jesup; a niece, Janice (Johnny) Daniels of Jesup; and several other nieces and nephews.

Graveside funeral services were held Feb. 12 in Old River Road House of Prayer Cemetery with the Rev. Jimmy Lord officiating along with military flag presentation.

Memorials may be made to the Old River Road Cemetery Fund, 2340 Constance Road, Jesup, GA 31545.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Donald Blanton

Jesup—Donald “Duck” Blanton, 58, of Jesup died Feb. 8, 2021.

The Chat-ham County native lived in Wayne County most of his life and was a forester with Pinova Company and formerly of Union Camp. He loved to fish, hunt, cook and sing. His father, Ben Blanton, preceded him in death, along with a brother, Barry.

Survivors include a companion, Christina Willis of Clewiston, Florida; a daughter, Sierra Blanton (Justin Bennett) of Odum; a son, Jasper (Kacie) Blanton of Jesup; Jasper’s mother, Patricia Blanton; four grandchildren, Erica, Lexi, Remington and Huk; his mother, Virginia Blanton of Jesup; a sister, Laura (Chuck) Page of Ailey; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held Feb. 12 at Rinehart and Sons Chapel with the Rev. Calvin Anderson officiating. Interment was in Altamaha Cemetery. Active pallbearers were James Carter, John Carter, Robbie Harless, Kyle Herrin, Shane Poppell and Don Thompson.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Sandy Campbell

Jesup—Sandy Campbell, 58, of Jesup died Feb. 14, 2021.

The Wayne County native attended Unity Church of God and enjoyed anything artsy from sketching people to creating graphics at his former employer, Barber and Company. Art was his life, and he was excellent at displaying his creative ideas in several mediums.

He was predeceased by a sister, Terri Campbell Swilley.

Survivors include his parents, B.J. and Evelyn Campbell of Jesup; a sister, Tonji Rodon of Altanta; a brother, Randy Campbell of Jesup; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at a later date.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Charles E. Collins

Jesup—Charles E. Collins of Jesup, 75, died Feb. 13, 2021, under the care of Hospice of South Georgia and Harborview Nursing Home.

The Indiana native had lived in Wayne County the past 13 years and attended Lake Chapel Primitive Baptist Church in Patterson.

He was predeceased by his parents, Charles Collins and Margaret Isenhour.

Survivors include several special friends, including Joe Kiger, Patricia Brown, Ruth Sullivan and the other Sunset Villa neighbors.

Graveside funeral services will be held today (Wednesday) at 11 a.m. at Lake Chapel Primitive Baptist Cemetery with the Rev. Fred Anderson officiating. The Hospice of South Georgia staff will serve as honorary pallbearers.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Gwynette Pauline Lightsey Olliff

Bristol—Gwynette “Booger” Pauline Lightsey Olliff, 68, of Bristol died Feb. 11, 2021.

The Appling County native and Piney Grove Freewill Baptist Church member was a loving wife, mother, Mema, aunt, sister and friend. She graduated in 1970 from Appling County High School and became a bus driver for more than 28 years for the Appling County school system.

She looked forward to beach trips, fishing and spending time at her family’s Florida home. Her favorite pastime was spent with her four grandchildren and cooking for her family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jennis “J.O.” and Pauline Lightsey; a sister, Joye Lightsey Lane; a brother, T.L. “Bud” Lightsey; and a nephew, Keith Lane.

Survivors include her husband, Victor Olliff of Bristol; a daughter, Robyn Olliff of Bristol; a son, Cory (Becca) Olliff of Bristol; grandchildren, Austin, Cassie, Eli and Bo; a brother, Jerry (Geneva) Lightsey of Bristol; sisters, Jean (Colvin) Griffis, Ina Dell Lightsey and Kay (Jim) Overstreet, all of Appling County; and a host of nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service was held Feb. 16 at Piney Grove Freewill Baptist Church in Bristol.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Geraldine Teston

Jesup—Geraldine Teston, 71, of Jesup died Feb. 12, 2021.

The Wayne County native was a member of Midway Baptist Church and a former Waynline and Walmart employee. She loved to travel to the mountains, but her heart was with her grandchildren and her church family.

The father of her children, Archie Teston, preceded her in death, along with her parents, Virgil and Claudine Crosby; a sister, Dinah Nichols; and a brother-in-law, Thomas Pye.

Survivors include three daughters, Joanie (Dewayne) Hutcheson of Odum, Stephanie (William) Friese of Jesup and Amy (Clint) Mallard of Gardi; four grandsons, Zachary and Zerek Friese, Samuel Hutcheson and Collin Mallard; two sisters, Kathy Pye and Brenda Harrison, both of Jesup; several nephews; and several nieces, especially her “practice daughter,” Angie Alewine, and Heidi Martell.

Funeral services were held Feb. 15 in Midway Baptist Church with the Rev. John Crosby and the Rev. Fred Anderson officiating. Interment followed in Midway Cemetery.

Active pallbearers were Zachary and Zerek Friese, Samuel Hutcheson, Collin Mallard, Mike Short and Mike Alewine. Honorary pallbearers were staff members of Hospice of South Georgia Staff.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Midway Baptist Church, 105 Salem Street, Jesup, GA 31546.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Henry P. Merrier Sr.

Jesup—Henry P. Merrier Sr., 83, of Jesup died Feb. 11, 2021. 

The Atkinson County native had lived in Wayne County the past 50 years and was a member of First Freewill Baptist Church.  He was owner and operator of Merrier Marine Company for many years and was an avid fisherman who loved the outdoors.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Sandra Davis Merrier of Jesup; son, Pat (Sherrie) Merrier Jr. of Jesup; grandson, Patrick (Daniele) Merrier III of Jesup; and two brothers, Lindsey Lee of Abbeville, South Carolina, and Carroll Merrier of Woodbine.

Graveside funeral services were held Feb. 14 in Pinecrest Memorial Cemetery with the Rev. Stanley Todd officiating.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.



Debora A. Bowles

Thomaston—Debora A. Bowles, 72, of Thomaston died Feb. 11, 2021, at her residence.

She was born June 3, 1948. She grew up in Thomaston in her late mom’s (Mildred) beauty shop and even had a hair dryer there named after her. She shared her late dad (Barney) with two younger brothers, Terry (Melody) Bowles of Peachtree City and Jerry (Janis) Bowles of Thomaston.

She had a lifelong love of shopping and enjoyed visiting her cousin Teresa (Ashley) Benton and family often, especially for their neighborhood fireworks.

She earned a master’s degree in business from Jacksonville State University and was the financial aid director at Flint River and Griffin technical colleges.

She loved her children, Stacy Becerra and Candace (Jared) Streetman of Thomaston. She delighted in planning Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings with games and more food than could possibly be consumed.

She was fun, adventuresome, smart and creative and had a big heart. During retirement, she took great joy in quilting and shuttling grandchildren, Trent Coker and Reese Streetman, from school to their sport activities where she loudly rooted them on.

She met her husband, Paul Williamson, mid-life, and he cherished her as she so deserved, her family said. They enjoyed church, camping with friends and vacationing with family.

She was a devout Christian.

Private family services were held Feb. 13.

Coggins Funeral Home of Thomaston was in charge of arrangements.


Marvin Ballenger Smith

Dublin—Marvin Ballenger “Bali” Smith, 66, of Dublin died peacefully on Feb. 5, 2021, after an extended illness.

He was born on April 10, 1954, in Jesup to Ralph Ballenger Smith and Betty Clark Smith. He was the oldest of four children. He often shared fond memories of his childhood and teenage years helping in his father’s pharmacy. Upon graduation from the University of Georgia, he began his career as a teacher and coach at Washington-Wilkes Middle School. After several years, he relocated to East Laurens High School to continue his passion. It was there that he met his loving wife of 33 years, Kit Compton Smith. The couple have three children, Jayme, Wesley and Bradley.

Coach Smith, as he was fondly known, retired from East Laurens High in 2010 after 32 years. Following his retirement, he developed a love of photography and was often seen at basketball games, at wrestling matches and on the sidelines of many football games photographing for the local newspaper—The Courier Herald. During this time, he was also able to pursue his love for golf and could be found many days at Riverview Golf Course.

While he had many hobbies including music, boating, reading and traveling, his greatest joys were his three grandsons. Over the last five years, he enjoyed babysitting his two youngest grandsons. He was responsible for their spoiling and would never let them leave without Juicy Fruit gum or a piece of candy.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph Ballenger and Betty Clark Smith.

Survivors include his wife, Kit; children, Jayme McGowan, Wesley (Britney) Smith, both of Dublin, and Bradley (Lauren) Smith of Atlanta; grandchildren, Logan McGowan, Weston Smith and Brooks Smith; siblings, Jeanne (Roch) Johnson of Salem, South Carolina, Press (Cheryl) Smith of Hinesville and Lollie (Shawn) Crosby of Jesup; and many loving aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Services were held privately.

Family and friends may visit www.townsendfuneralhome.com to sign the online memorial register.

Townsend Brothers Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.