4.22.20 obituaries



Jacob John  Nickodem Jr.

Jesup--Jacob John Nickodem Jr., 76, died suddenly on April 19, 2020, from injuries sustained in an accident doing something he dearly loved to do, riding his bicycle.

He was born Sept. 18, 1943, in Morgantown, West Virginia, to the late Jacob John “Jake” Nickodem Sr. and Nellie Warzocha Nickodem.  He spent his early years there and was a member of the 1961 graduating class of Morgantown High School.

He then attended West Virginia University, where he majored in electrical engineering and was recipient of a bachelor’s degree in 1965. Soon after graduation, he relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked for IBM and, later, PPG Industries before making his final move to Jesup. He worked for Rayonier Advanced Materials as a systems analyst.

He loved life, and he lived it to the full. He took his first trip of many to Europe in 1967. In addition to his extensive travels in Europe, he also visited China, Japan and Korea and was an active participant in numerous mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

Another passion of his was art. He was a talented sculptor and an avid collector of art for many years. He used his attention to detail in everything he did, and he mastered the art of cooking, a pastime he truly loved. He enjoyed entertaining guests at his home and sharing the stories behind the pieces he had collected.

Always a voracious reader, he took great pride in his collection of books and was known to take a book along on many shopping trips to help pass the time.

He logged more than 50,000 miles on his bicycle and had participated in numerous charity rides, including the Tour de Cure for diabetes research and Bikes to Barges in Amsterdam.

He was truly a family man, and he loved children. He was a Girl Scout leader for many years and always enjoyed dressing up at Halloween and scaring the neighborhood kids for fun. He volunteered countless hours at Tabitha’s Place, a local nonprofit food kitchen, and was a longtime communicant of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he served many years as chairman of the Columbarium Committee.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 53 years, Mary Jo Bramer Nickodem of Jesup; three daughters, Heather (Patrick) Cheatham of Morrisville, North Carolina, Lt. Col Jessica Rhyne and husband, Lt. Col William Allen Rhyne, of West End, North Carolina, and Brandee (John) Gurnot of  San Antonio, Texas; sister, Marcella (Allen) Hill of Star City, West Virginia; grandchildren, Ruby and Roxy; and numerous extended-family members.

Private memorial services will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. Dee Shaffer officiating. Entombment of his cremated remains will follow in the church Columbarium.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 745 S. Palm St., Jesup, GA 31546 or Tabitha’s Place, 247 S. Second St., Jesup, GA 31545.

He will be remembered fondly for many things by his family and friends. Among these things are his wit, charm, larger-than-life personality and uncanny ability to find beauty in all aspects of life, especially the “little things.”

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

Howard & Jones Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Larry Blanton

Alma--Larry Blanton, 75, affectionately known by his family and friends as “Whip,” died April 17, 2020, at home under the care of Bethany Hospice after a lengthy illness.

A resident of Alma for the past 18 years and longtime former resident of Wayne County, he was born on Oct. 27, 1944, in Walthourville to the late Lonnie and Eva Mae Blanton. He was raised in the Crossroads Community and attended school in Odum.

He graduated from Odum High School in 1963 and went to work at Waynline of Jesup briefly before beginning a 39-year career at Rayonier, where he would eventually retire several years ago.

He loved being outdoors, taking trips to the mountains, and hunting and fishing, especially fishing. He was a member of New Hope Freewill Baptist Church but had been attending Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church in Alma for many years.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Anna Sha Blanton; his brother, Hubert Blanton; his sister, Emma Lee Sweat; and his stepson, Dane Boatright.

Survivors include his wife, Judy Yawn Blanton of Alma; a son, Timmy Blanton of Jesup; a daughter, Tammy Blanton (Dickie) Waters of Odum; stepdaughters, Dana (Tony) Carter of Alma and Kristi (Robby) Barnes of Baxley; three sisters, Evone (Billy) Riggs of Jesup, Etwendel (Gary) Fennell of Odum and Latrelle (Dennis) Durrence of Jesup; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and extended-family members.

Graveside funeral services with COVID-19 and social-distancing guidelines in place were held April 20 in New Hope Cemetery with the Rev. Greg Delk officiating.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Bethany Hospice, 411 Lister St., Waycross, GA 31501.

Howard-Jones Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.



Cody Allen Williamson

Ludowici--Cody Allen Williamson, 38, died April 17, 2020.

Born in Jesup, he had lived in Long County most of his life. He was employed with Custom Quality Scaffolding in Richmond Hill as a builder for many years. He was an adventure seeker who lived life to the fullest and often on the edge. A devoted family man, he enjoyed time spent with family, especially his son. His outgoing personality, infectious smile and huge heart will be missed.

He was preceded in death by his father, Freddie Williamson; maternal grandparents, Joe and Alice Young Rozier; and paternal grandparents, Freddie Williamson and Earlie Williamson Brissel.

Survivors include his son, Gauge Williamson of Hinesville; mother, Shirley Rozier Williamson of Ludowici; sister and brother-in-law, Candice (Lamar) King of Ludowici; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends.

Drive-up visitation will be held today (Wednesday) from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. at Howard Funeral Home with a funeral services following at 2 p.m. The Rev. Robert Long will officiate.

Remembrances are suggested to the family fund, care of Howard Funeral Home or at howardfuneralga.com.

Family and friends may sign the online register at www.howardfuneralga.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of Howard Funeral Home of Ludowici.



Raymond H.  Bilbrey

Odum--Raymond H. Bilbrey, 69, of Odum died at home of an apparent heart attack on April 19, 2020.

He was a decorated Vietnam War veteran awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, The Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. He served as an Army captain while attached to the 1st Calvary, 1st Airborne and 101st Airborne divisions. He was also awarded the Cross of Gallantry Meritorious Unit Citation while a communications officer by the Republic of Vietnam.

He was a Master Mason in the Vidalia Masonic Lodge, where he served in almost all posts, including the Worshipful Master.  He enjoyed being active in the Masons and especially coaching future Masons to become better husbands, friends and contributing members of society.

He worked in broadcasting for many years, beginning his career as a teenager on working at a local radio station in Crossville, Tennessee. He graduated from college and high school at the same time with an engineering degree. He the worked at the Jesup Radio Station, where he made the “famous” Paul Harvey phone call, declaring that there was “nothing going on in Jesup, Georgia.” This phone call cemented a friendship between the two men, with Mr. Harvey occasionally stating on his world-wide syndicated radio programs that there still was nothing going on in Jesup, Georgia. He went on to become manager of the Vidalia Radio Station for 10 years and then moved into shared ownership with the Hinesville Radio Station. He has also had ownership in the Lyons Station, where he has been manager and engineer for the past 20 some years. There he worked with many people, including several valued employees he called friends.

At the time of his death, he was in a battle for his life with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, having almost completed his full round of chemotherapy. He was looking forward to one day soon being able to ring the bell that cancer treatment patients get to ring when their treatment is complete.

He was a member of Altamaha Baptist Church in Odum, where he once taught the Discipleship Class on Sunday nights. He was proud to call this his church and Odum his home.

He was predeceased by both parents, Lee H. Bilbrey and Alta Godsey Tabor; a brother, Ronald Tabor; and sisters, Harlene Parker and Emily Whitteker. He also had an adored son, Nathaniel Ray Bilbrey, who preceded him in death. A favorite pastime was recalling fond times spent with his son and daughter.

Survivors include his beloved sweetheart, wife of 40 years and helpmate, Brenda Dent Bilbrey; his daughter, favorite shopping buddy and “daddy’s girl,” Rachel Bilbrey Clary; his adored and only granddaughter, Annsley Dallas Clary, who was also his favorite golf-cart-riding buddy; his faithful buddy and certified service dog, Gunther; parents-in-love, Lavern and Martha Dent; a brother-in-law, Danny Dent; and several nieces, nephews and out-of-state siblings, Ursula (Tom) Zigan, Barbie Kendrick, Tina Bilbrey, Betty Blaylock, Jeannie Johnson, Lee Allen Bilbrey, Nancy Sygula and Carma Gomez.

A private family graveside funeral service will be held in Pinecrest Memorial Cemetery with Pastor Jack Lee officiating.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home of Jesup is in charge of arrangements.


Sonya Lewis Boatright

Screven--Sonya Lewis Boatright, 42, of Screven died April 18, 2020, from complications owing to a stroke.

The Wayne County native was a member of Screven First Baptist Church and a paraprofessional and volunteer at Screven Elementary School. She was a former Altamaha Federal Credit Union employee, serving Jesup and Screven branches and also worked for the United States Postal Service. When her boys were small, she was a stay-at-home mother, as she was family-oriented and loved to bake and read.  “She was a sweet soul” is the resounding accolade in her social- media posts.

Her grandparents, Lawrence and Susie J. Manning, William Glenn and Lucy Lewis, preceded her in death.

Survivors include her husband of 20 years, Brian Boatright of Screven; three sons, Dalton, Darrin and Aidan Boatright; parents, Donzell and JoAnn Lewis of Jesup; a sister, Melissa (Jay) Beaver of Jesup; a brother, Donnie (Melissa) Lewis of Jesup; a grandmother, Lucille Manning of Jesup; a mother-in-law, Nancy (Frank) Tanner of Ludowici; a father-in-law, Barry (Jan Adams) Boatright of Elberton; a sister-in-law, Erin (Scott) Webb of Elberton; three nieces, Lucy Lewis, Suzanne Beaver and Maelyn Webb; two nephews, Eli and Easton Webb; and numerous aunt, uncles and cousins.

Owing to the COVID-19 mandates, family graveside funeral services will be held today (Wednesday) at 11 a.m. at Screven City Cemetery with Elder Thomas Waters officiating.

A private family viewing will be held at the funeral home.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  


Robert D.  “Bobby” Crews

Jesup--Robert D. “Bobby” Crews, 76, of Jesup died April 16, 2020.

He loved to fish and hunt.

He was predeceased by his parents, Crosby and Patsy Jenkins, and a son, Don Crews.

Survivors include his children, Robbie (Kennette) Crews, Tonya (Bud) Yeomans and Milisa Stoner, and their mother, Jeanine Thornton Graham, all of Jesup; 15 grandchildren, Charles Crews, Jenna (Rex) Lewis, James (Kayla) Reindeau, David (LeeAnn) Wilkes, Rob Crews Jr., Joshua (Victoria) Crews, Jessica Carlson, Terri (David) Colvin, Ashley (Chris) Loftis, Michael(Kayla) Baker, Trebor Baker, Evan Holland, Chelsea (Adam) Lake, Faith Crews and Taylor Drawdy; a brother, Keith Jenkins of Jesup; several nieces and nephews; and his dog, “Pretty Girl.”

Owing to the COVID-19 situation, the family will be holding a private service.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Gail Thompson Edwards

Savannah--Gail Thompson Edwards, 75, of Savannah died April 18, 2020, from complications due to a short-term illness.

The Wayne County native and 1963 Jesup High School graduate was a retired administrative assistant of Armstrong Atlantic State University. She was a former secretary at Varnedoe, Chisholm and Skinner Stockbrokers. She later turned her love and talents for making beautiful clothing and accessories using cross stitching and smocking techniques and opened Art Needlework on the Southside of Savannah.

She was known for her love of animals and history and could often be found planning trips and outings with her friends. She was an independent, adventurous and precocious woman with a real zest for life. Her latest passion was keeping up with her six beautiful great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by parents, Robert (Bramie) Houston “Tommy” Thompson; a brother, Courtney “Wayne” Thompson; a sister, Clara “Margene” Thompson; and a partner, Billy Carter.

Survivors include a daughter, Janet (Eddie) Clanton Hollingsworth of Odum; her father, William “Billie” (Nell) Clanton of Odum; four grandchildren, Billy (Kelly) Hollingsworth, Melanie (Cale) Harris, Karri (Joey) Youngblood, and Tessa (Brian) Watford; six great-grandchildren, Paisley and Briggs Hollingsworth, Kennedy and Houston Harris, and Cali and Cameron Watford; a stepdaughter, Amy Carter Saunders; a former husband, Larry (Julie) Edwin Edwards; a sister-in-law, Loretta Thompson; a niece, Amy Thompson Mann; nephew, Robert Wayne Thompson.

Owing to the COVID-19 mandates, private family graveside funeral services will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in Savannah.

A private family viewing will be held at Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Tim Tebow Foundation “Night to Shine Ministry” 2220 County Road 210 W., Suite 108, PMB 317, Jacksonville, FL 32259 or online at https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  


Vida Lynn “Sissy” Odum Hobbs

Jesup--Vida Lynn “Sissy” Odum Hobbs, 63, of Jesup and Grovetown died April 19, 2020.

The Wayne County native and 1975 Wayne County High School graduate was a retired registered nurse working as a dialysis nurse with Doctors Hospital in Augusta. She was known for her love for her adopted dogs, Leo, Rudy, Justice, Wobbles, Daisy, Molly, Rosie, Louise and Sweet Pea.

She was predeceased by her husband, Alan Hobbs; her parents, Merrill and Louise Williamson Odum; and a brother, Merrill “Pee Wee” Odum Jr.

Survivors include a nephew, Rex Odum, and his mother, Cynthia Odum of Jesup; several close cousins; extended relatives; and a best friend, Jan Wilson, of Augusta.

Owing to COVID-19 circumstances, private remembrance services are being held by the family.

Memorials may be made to her favorite charity, “Hands to Paws Rescue,” 1727 Forest Creek Road, Augusta, GA 30909.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Jeanie Leggett

Jesup--Jeanie Leggett, 65, of Jesup died April 16, 2020.

The South Carolina native had lived in Wayne County most of her adult life and attended Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. She was a seamstress for several companies and loved to fish and spend time with her grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her parents, Lewis and Edna Simmons.

Survivors include her husband of 47 years, Larry Leggett of Jesup; two sons, Larry David “Peanut” Leggett Jr. and Robert (Bobbie) Leggett, both of Jesup; four grandchildren, Ethan Leggett, Patrick Maskew, Kenzley Leggett and Shaylynn Leggett; a brother, Jerry Simmons of Jesup; and several nieces and nephews.

Private memorial services will be held by the family.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home of Jesup is in charge of arrangements.


Apostle Marvin Sumner

Baxley--Apostle Marvin Sumner, 72, died April 8, 2020.

He was born May 28, 1947, to Benjamin and Lillie Mae Sumner in Toombs County.

He graduated from Appling County Consolidated High School. He worked as a foreman and supervisor at Plant Hatch in Baxley and retired after 30 years. He, along with his brother-in-law James Frank Carter, founded Miracle Temple Church of God In Christ in the late 1970s; it produced a foundation that has numerous successful ministries and ministers to this day.

Survivors include his children Pamela Sumner, Kevin Lamar Sumner and Marvin Hankerson Sr.; grandsons, Marvin Hankerson Jr. and  Jahmarie Williams; two sisters and their husbands; two bothers; two goddaughters; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A family graveside service was held April 11 at First Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Baxley.

Baxley Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.