Mr. Oliver Quimby Melton, Jr. – February 12, 1922 - February 7, 2013
Mr. Oliver Quimby Melton, Jr., of Griffin died peacefully at his home Feb. 7, 2013 just five days before his 91st birthday. He was a leader in Griffin and the State of Georgia. He was a newspaperman, legislator, historian, World War II veteran, avid horseman and devoted husband and father. A native of Americus, he was the son of Oliver Quimby Melton and Mary Ella Davenport Melton. His paternal grandfather, Wightman Fletcher Melton, Ph.D., was Poet Laureate of Georgia.
He attended Griffin schools and graduated in 1939 from Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the fall of 1939, he entered the University of Georgia and graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1942. At Georgia, he was a member of the Gridiron Secret Society and the Kappa Alpha Order. He attended the Army Cavalry School at Fort Riley, Kansas, graduated and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He served in the mechanized cavalry in the United States, Australian New Guinea, Dutch New Guinea and Luzon in the Philippine Islands, where he was wounded by Japanese machine gun fire and was awarded the Purple Heart.
At the age of 11, he became a carrier boy at the Griffin Daily News which his father owned, starting a newspaper career that would become legendary. While at the University of Georgia, he was editor of The Red and Black and upon his return from World War II became editor of the Griffin Daily News. He became its publisher in 1970. He published weekly newspapers in Barnesville, Fayetteville, Forsyth, Jackson, Hampton, McDonough and Zebulon and operated Hometown Press in Barnesville.
Melton was a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia from 1955-1960. He helped Gordon Military College become a unit of the University System and was a member of the Gordon Foundation, serving as its chairman for a decade. He served seven terms in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1959-1972 representing Spalding and Fayette counties. He chaired the House Education Committee and the Commission to Improve Education. .
He was Georgia’s Citizen of the Year in 1955 and the Griffin Exchange Club’s Man of the Year in 1958. He earned his law degree at night from The Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1961, passed the bar examination on his first attempt and was licensed to practice law in any court in Georgia. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Griffin and was a member and teacher of the Mens’ Bible Class. He was a member of Scout Troop Two and earned the rank of Eagle Scout at 15. He was a member of the Griffin and Barnesville Rotary clubs, Griffin's Tuesday Morning Coffee Club and a former director of the Bank of Griffin. He was a charter member of the Commerce Club in Atlanta and the Griffin Country Club, a member of Meridian Sun Lodge #26 F&AM and the Elks and Moose lodges of Griffin.
Oliver Quimby Melton Jr. is survived by his wife of 69 years, May Wingfield Melton of Griffin; a son, Quimby Melton, III, Ed.D., (Louisa) of Griffin; three daughters, Mary Melton Forehand (James) of Stone Mountain, Laura Melton Geiger (Walter) of Barnesville and Leila Melton Stone (Edward) of Forsyth; seven grandchildren, Quimby Melton, IV, Ph.D., (Samantha) of Huntington Beach, CA, Isaac Melton (Shelly) of Griffin, Marianne Forehand DeVito (Steven) of Atlanta, Carol Forehand of Atlanta, Robert Stone of Macon, May Melton Geiger and Olivia Lanier Geiger, both of Bamesville; two great-grandsons, Isaac Melton, Jr., and Asher Melton, both of Griffin; a Goddaughter, Alice Lindsey Blake (Andrew) of Griffin; and a Godson, Lee Thomas (Tina) of Griffin.
Mr. Eugene “Gene” Hardwick – September 30, 1933 - May 2, 2012
Mr. Eugene “Gene” Hardwick, age 78, of Lamar County, passed away unexpectedly on May 2, 2012. He was a Graduate of Appling Co. High School & Perry College, as well as the University of Georgia, with degrees in Accounting & Business Administration. He was a retired executive with BellSouth with 38 years of service, and was a member of the Telephone Company Pioneers. He was a Deacon with the First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. He was a Director with the American Cancer Society, he worked with Relay For Life for many years, was a member of Village Readers- a group that reads to Pre-K children, past President of Barnesville Rotary Club, served on the City of Roswell, GA Zoning Board, served on the Solid Waste & Industrial Development Authority for Lamar Co, was 2 term Lamar County Commissioner (Vice-Chair for 6 years), current Chairman of the Lamar Co. Republican Party, among many other titles. He raised Beefmaster cattle and was the current President of the Southeastern Beefmaster Breeders Assn. and current President of Mid-Atlantic Beefmasters Marketing Group, & member of the GA. Cattleman’s Association. He was a decorated Marine and a Master Mason. He loved the outdoors & was an avid & accomplished hunter & fisherman.
He is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Melaine, 4 children - (son) Lynn Hardwick, (daughters) Tara Hardwick, Jennifer Topper Simmons (Marcus), Heather Topper Cox (Cader) ; 6 grandchildren- Thomas Eugene Brimer, Madalyn Hardwick, Taylor Brimer, Carson Simmons, Kendall Simmons, & Caroline Cox ; 3 sisters- Grace Carswell, Angelia Taylor, Penelope Bowles; 1 brother- Chester Mims, & many other aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces & nephews. He was a dedicated husband, father, Granddad & his family was his pride and joy. He will be sadly missed by many.