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Gencie Hutto Fortune Fowler
Mrs. Gencie Hutto Fortune Fowler, 93, of Douglas, Ga., passed away Friday night, July 26, 2002, at Shady Acres Convalescent Center following an extended illness. Mrs. Fowler, a native of Coffee County, Ga., was the daughter of the late William Jordan Hutto and the late Miriam Roberts Hutto. She was the widow of the late E. W. Fortune and Clyde E. Fowler. Mrs. Fowler was a member of the Northside Baptist Church. Survivors include: four daughters, Nina F. Burch of Jackson, S.C., Genelle F. Chitty of Palmetto, Fla., Frances F. Luke of Douglas, Ga., and Mary F. Rowland of Alma, Ga.; one step-son, Gene Fowler of North Augusta, S.C.; 15 grandchildren, 22 step-grandchildren, 32 great- grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews, and other relatives. In addition to her husbands, she was also preceded in death by one daughter, Miriam Garner, one step-son, Robert Fowler, and one sister, Ethel Dyal. Funeral services were held Monday, July 29, 2002, at 11 a.m., at Northside Baptist Church, with Rev. Terry L. Reagin officiating. Special eulogies were given by Debbi Sutton, Tan Callaway, Trish Horne, and Rev. Joe Daniel. A special poem, "Ma Ma," was presented by a granddaughter, Bridgette Garner Buie. Special musical selections were "Oh, I Want To See Him," rendered by Rev. Terry L. and Lynn Reagin, with Lynn Reagin accompaning at the piano, and "Beulah Land," presented acappella by soloist, Mike Clements. Soft musical renditions were by pianist Marilyn Burch Posey. Interment followed in the Douglas City Cemetery. Active pallbearers were: Jerry Sutton, Ray Fussell, Rodney Schramm, Dennis Josey, Dave Morse, and Eddie Steptoe. Honorary pallbearers were members of the "Senior's Day Out," including Debbi Sutton, Lou Annie Wright, Hazel Weeks, Lula Chaney, Lynn Fussell, Mary Helen Baker, Pauline Metts, Betty Riggins, Lizzie Harper, and Lorene Harrell; the "Golden Girls" staff of Shady Acres Convalescent Center, and Vickie Lewis. Ricketson Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of the arrangements.

Evelyn Helen Ezell McCallister
Evelyn Helen Ezell McCallister, 70, of Coweta Avenue, Douglas, Ga., passed away Monday, July 22, 2002, following an extended illness. Mrs. McCallister a native of Geneva County, Ala., was born December 28, 1931, the daughter of the late Isaac Henry and Hattie Vera Kirkland Ezell. She was a homemaker, the widow of the late Leamon McCallister, and a member of Eastside Baptist Church. Survivors include: three daughters, Lynda S. Dowling and husband, C. J., and Patti Mercer, and husband, Carlie, all of Nicholls, Ga., and Glenda F. McElhaney of Douglas, Ga.; one son, Leamon McCallister of Douglas, Ga.; three sisters, Ruth Buscola of Granville, Ga., Jean McCallister of Graceville Fla., and Ann Chancey of College Park, Ga.; two brothers, Kenneth Ezell of Graceville, Fla., and Bobby Hicks of Umatilla, Fla.; nine grandchildren, Dustin Dowling, DeWayne Dowling, Cindy Flanagan, Chris Edge, Taylor McElhaney, Daniel McElhaney, Brad Mercer, Chad Mercer, and Suzanne Mercer; two great-grandchildren, Kameron Flanagan and Kurt Flanagan, nieces, and nephews. Funeral services were held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 24, 2002, at the Sims Funeral Home Chapel in Douglas, Ga., with Rev. Floyd Musgrove officiating. Daughter Glenda McElhaney gave the eulogy. Soloist Carla Woodard sang "Mansion Over The Hilltop," "Old Rugged Cross," and "I'll Meet You in the Morning," with Lois Mills accompanying at the piano. Also a taped selection of "One Rose" was provided. Interment followed at the Meeks Cemetery. Active pallbearers were grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers were Dr. H. P. Nair, Dr. B. Patel, Zenda Adair, and Ladies Bible Study Class of Eastside Baptist Church. Sims Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of arrangements.

Allen Gerard Wiggins
Mr. Allen Gerard Wiggins, 34, passed away Thursday, July 18, 2002. Mr. Wiggins, a native of Douglas, Ga., was born August 23, 1967, the son of the late Oscar and Ruth Williams Wiggins, Sr. Allen attended school in Coffee County and completed his education at South Georgia College and Valdosta State University. From there, he joined the Army where he served his country for some time. Survivors include: his wife, Emma Jean Thrower Wiggins; one daughter, Octavia Ruth Wiggins; three step-children, Lakeshia Shawaune Thrower, Lashay Shawanune Jones, and Rakale Godwin Ekpene; four brothers, Terry Wiggins and wife, Gladys, of Ambrose, Ga., Oscar Wiggins, Jr., and wife, Betty, of Willingboro, N. J., Paul Wiggins and wife, Sharon, of Philadelphia, Penn, and Andrew Wiggins of Douglas, Ga.; one step-brother, Varnadore Johnson of Douglas, Ga.; three sisters, Naomi Williams of Douglas, Ga., and Pauline Everett and husband, Robert, of Columbia, S.C.; step-mother, Thelma Wiggins of Douglas, Ga.; mother-in-law, Mattie Lee Thrower of Douglas, Ga. Mr. Wiggins was preceded in death by his father-in-law, John Thrower; one sibling, Jerome Wiggins; and one sister-in-law. Funeral services were held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 2002, at Pine Street Church of God, Douglas, Ga., with Rev. Willie Williams officiating. Interment followed at the Douglas City Cemetery, Douglas, Ga. Active pallbearers were Weldon Rush, Jr., Charlie Pace, Marcus Pace, Ricky Hart, Bobbie Gifford and Marcus Wiggins. Honorary pallbearers were Ruby Tuesday's staff. McIver Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of the arrangements.

Mattie Lou Spires Burke
Mrs. Mattie Lou Spires Burke, 84, of Bethany Church Road, Ambrose, Ga., passed away Sunday, July 21, 2002, at Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross, Ga., following an extended illness. Mrs. Burke, a native of Coffee County, Ga., was born June 25, 1918, the daughter of the late Warren and Georgia Ann Bailey Spires. She was a homemaker and a member of Bethany Holiness Baptist Church, Ambrose, Ga. Survivors include: two sons, Charles E. Burke and wife, Josephine, and Rev. Donald Burke and wife, Martha, all of Waycross, Ga.; one daughter, Marilyn Burke Harper and husband, Clifford, of Douglas, Ga.; one step-son, Rev. Felton Burke of Douglas, Ga.; one son-in-law, Vyrlyn Stone of Douglas, Ga.; four brothers, J. L. Spires of Eustus, Fla., Roscoe Spires of Oklahoma City, Ok., and Sage Spires and Tillman Spires, both of Douglas, Ga.; one sister, Emily Spires of Hazlehurst, Ga.; one sister-in-law, Vertie Lee Spires of Douglas, Ga.; nine grandchildren, Kathy Fussell, Wendell Stone, DeWayne Stone, Timmy Stone, Steve Burke, Melinda Lee, Kim Mixon, Charlie Burke, and Ricky Burke; 12 great-grandchildren, 14 step-grandchildren. Funeral services were held 2 p.m., Tuesday, July 23, 2002, at the Bethany Holiness-Baptist Church, with Rev. Jimmie Sayer and Rev. Kenneth Mathews officiating. Carolyn Thompson and June Merritt sang "City Limits of Heaven," Faye Adams, Carolyn Wright, and Chris Purvis sang "Can't Start the Celebration Till I Get Home" and "Stroll Over Heaven," with Bonnie Musgrove accompanying at the piano. Interment followed at the Bethany Church Cemetery. Active pallbearers were Dewayne Stone, Timmy Stone, Wendell Stone, Steven Burke, Charlie Burke, and Ricky Burke. Honorary pallbearers were Robert Vining, James Homer Day, Sherrel Day, Lamar Harper, Dan O'Steen, Wayne Sayer, Paul Arnold, Bobby Mancil, Rev. Winston Wright, Robert Sayer, Buddy Cadle, Ronnie Merritt, and Danny Patton. Sims Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of arrangements.

Herman L. Bennett
Mr. Herman L. Bennett, 74, of Atlanta, Ga., formerly of Pearson and Douglas, Ga., passed away Monday, July 22, 2002, at his home following a brief illness. Mr. Bennett, a native of Atkinson County, was born March 6, 1928, the son of Lawson and Gladys McNeal Bennett. He was a retired watchmaker and a veteran of World War II having served in the Army Air Corps. He was of the Methodist faith. He was also a member of the National Watch and Clockmakers Association, Moose Club, Elks Club, and the American Legion. Survivors include: his wife, Elizabeth Upton Bennett of Atlanta, Ga.; one son, H. Lee Bennett, Jr., of Atlanta, Ga.; one daughter, Dr. Kristine Bennett of Atlanta, Ga.; four grandchildren, Bennett Cierny, Alec Cierny, Sylvie Cierny, and Tessa Cierny all of Atlanta, Ga.; seven brothers, Coleman Bennett, Frank Bennett, and Donald Bennett all of Raeford, N.C., Horace Bennett of Pearson, Ga., Jimmy Sloan of Hoboken, Ga., Kenny Bennett of Brunswick, Ga., and Ronald Bennett of Nicholls, Ga.; four sisters, Betty Jean Smith of Ft. Myers, Fla., Eva Ruth Osborne of Atkinson, Ga., Norma Jean Fort of Norway, S.C., and Linda Mae Bennett of Fitzgerald, Ga. Graveside Memorial services and interment for Mr. Bennett were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 28, 2002, at Douglas City Cemetery, with Rev. Everett Wilson officiating. Relihan Funeral Home of Pearson, Ga., was in charge of the arrangements.

Jewelene Johnson McCook
Mrs. Jewelene Johnson McCook, 64, of Lupo Lane, Douglas, Ga., passed away Thursday, July 25, 2002, at Palmyra Park Medical Center in Albany, Ga. Mrs. McCook, a native of Coffee County, Ga., was born November 29, 1937, the daughter of the late Roscoe and Rosa Lee Jones Johnson. She was of the Baptist faith, a homemaker, and the widow of the late Daniel McCook. Survivors include: two daughters, Diane Lott of Douglas, Ga., and Debi Veazey of Broxton, Ga.; one sister, Pearl Purvis of Ocilla, Ga.; two brothers, Leroy McGee and Herman McGee, both of Portsmouth, N.H.; five grandchildren, Andrea Smith, LaRan Kirkland, Dana Moore, Sarah Lott, and Buck Veazey; 12 great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Funeral services were held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 27, 2002, at Sims Funeral Home Chapel, with Rev. Don T. Lott officiating. Soloist Diane Lott sang "Strength for the Journey" and "Let's Meet by the River." Lois Mills provided soft music for the prelude and postlude. Interment followed in the Grantham Cemetery near Douglas, Ga. Active pallbearers were Brandon Kirkland, Tony Hutto, Kenny Davidson, Buck Veazey, Carroll Smith, Dick Hutto, Kirk Borngue, and Jose Romero. Honorary pallbearers were grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sims Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of the arrangements.

Vilas W. Ricketson
Mr. Vilas W. Ricketson, 88, passed away Wednesday afternoon, November 27, 2002, at Coffee Regional Medical Center following an extended illness. Mr. Ricketson, a native of Coffee County, Ga., was the son of the late Robert Ricketson and the late Fannie Lott Ricketson. He was a retired farmer of the Ambrose community, a member of the Calvary Baptist Church. Survivors include: one daughter, Doris R. Paulk of Ambrose, Ga.; one son, Ray Ricketson of Douglas, Ga.; three brothers, J.M. Ricketson, Waymond Ricketson, and Charles "Dupee" Ricketson, all of Snipesville community; five sisters, Arleathe Tate of Denton, Ga., Ruby Johnson of Broxton, Ga., Nell McCallum of Pridgen, Ga., Dorothy Thurman of Douglas, Ga., and Ivella Gillam of Plant City, Fla.; three grandchildren, Rex Ricketson, and Kim Ricketson both of Douglas, Ga., and Cindy Spicer of Ambrose, Ga.; three great-granchildren, Kirby Merritt, Korey Merritt, and Jordan Merritt, all of Ambrose, Ga.; several nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Mr. Ricketson was preceded in death by his one brother, R.T. Ricketson, and one sister, Juanita Foskey and the widower of the late Mollie Merritt Ricketson. Funeral services were held Saturday, November 30, 2002, at 3 p.m., at the Chapel of Ricketson Funeral Home, with Rev. L.G. Aldridge, Rev. Robert McDearmid, and Rev. Doug Weisel officiating. A special poem was written and presented by granddaughter, Cindy Spicer. The interment followed in the Griffin Cemetery. Special musical selections, "What A Day," and "Sheltered in the Arms of God," were rendered by the Calvary Baptist Church Choir, with Tammy Grimes at the piano. Active pallbearers were: Jimmy Ricketson, Marcus Ricketson, Randy Ricketson, Rick Ricketson, Jamey Tate, and Johnny Johnson. Honorary pallbearers were: Charles Larry Daniel, Leeland Dees, Kenneth Purvis, Richard Vickers, Tim Gray, and Curtis Harper. Ricketson Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of the arrangements.

Dorothy Ruth Ates
Mrs. Dorothy Ruth Ates, 77, passed away Monday, November 18, 2002. Mrs. Ates, a native of Hawkinsville, Wilcox County, Ga., was born August 25, 1925, the daughter of Rosa Bell Ates McDuffie and the late Johnny Ates. Survivors include: her mother, Rosa Bell Ates McDuffie of Douglas, Ga.; the father of her children, Lewis Clyde Johnson, Sr. of Douglas, Ga.; three sons, Robert Ates and wife, Susie, James Johnson and wife, Dot, and Lewis Clyde, Jr. and wife, Carrie Johnson of Douglas, Ga.; five sisters, Louise Stokes and husband, Robert of Douglas, Ga., Linda McDuffle and husband, Aldoshia Sr. of Miami, Fla., Dorothy Jean Brantley and husband, James of Hawkinsville, Ga., Mary Ethel Ervin of Jacksonville, Fla, and Carolyn Birch and husband, James of Orlando, Fla.; eight brothers, Eugene Ates and wife, Lucy, and Harry Ates and wife Patricia of Douglas, Ga., Larry Ates and wife, Clementine and Samuel Ates and wife, Yvette of Sarasota, Fla., Alphonso Mann and Theodis Mann of Hawkinsville, Ga., Joe Cutler and Willie Cutler and wife, Carrie of Miami, Fla.; sister-in-law, Dolores Ates of Opa Locka, Fla.; step-sisters, Essie L. Harrison of Tacoma, Wa., Lee Rhoda of Miami, Fla., Gertrude Edwards of Chicago, IL.; step-brothers, Aaron McDuffie and Theodore McDuffie of Miami, Fla., King McDuffie, Jr, and Joe McDuffie of Maryland, Arnold McDuffie of Jacksonville, Fla., and Rev. Emtra and husband (Elta) Greene of Savannah, Ga.; aunts, Annie Brown of Pineview, Ga., Everlene Gooden and Lillie Johnson of Atlanta, Ga.; uncles, Ernest and wife, Mamie Cutler of Miami, Fla., Bud and Clyde Cutler; 26 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Special friends, Fannie Mae Warren, Ginny Gainey, Mary Burnett, and Blossie Marie Hicks of Douglas, Ga., Celia Mae Gordon and Theotis Robinson of Trenton, NJ., and a special dear friend, Joe Berry. Mrs. Ates was preceeded in death by one brother, Johnny Ates Jr., and one step-brother, Remus McDuffie. Funeral services were held Saturday, November 23, 2002, at 2 p.m., at Macedonia Baptist Church, with Rev. Frank Robinson, II. Interment followed at Douglas City Cemetery. Special solo by Bro. Michael Wesley and song (duet) by Bro. Wayne and Bro. Bobby Gaskins. Active pallbearers were brothers: Bill Brand, George Johnson, William Wilson, Curtis Hicks, Afam Odili, LaRue Robinson, and Eddie Dean Clark. Honorary pallbearers were: Frank Jackson, Robert Bivens, Daniel Feaster, Isaac Hutchinsnon, Johnny Jackson, Melvin Paulk, and Richard Young. Harrell's Funeral Home of Douglas, Ga., was in charge of the final arrangements.

Lizzie Clark Bryant
Mrs. Lizzie Clark Bryant, 96, of Willacoochee, Ga., passed away Saturday, November 30, 2002, at Coffee Regional Medical Center in Douglas, Ga., following a brief illness. Mrs. Bryant, a native of Florida, was born January 19, 1906. She had made her home in Willacoochee, Ga., for most of her life and was a homemaker. Mrs. Bryant was the widow of the late Ozzie Bryant. Survivors include: three sons, Clarence Bryant, Lonnie Bryant, and Elisha Lee Bryant, all of Willacoochee, Ga.; three daughters, Thelma Bryant of Willacoochee, Ga., Louise Welch and husband, Jimmy, of Nashville, Tenn., and Doris Anderson and husband, Earl, of Orange Park, Fla.; eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, 11 great-great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Mrs. Bryant was preceded in death by three sons, Curtis, D.J., and Eston Bryant. Funeral services for Mrs. Bryant were held Monday, December 2, 2002, at 2 p.m., at St. Luke Baptist Church, with Rev. Carlton Ring officiating. Interment followed in the St. Luke Cemetery. Active pallbearers were Earl Anderson, Ben Nugent, R.J. Jewell, Talmadge Cribb, Timothy Helprin, and David Anderson. Relihan Funeral Home of Pearson, Ga., was in charge of the arrangements.

Melvin H. Davis
Mr. Melvin H. Davis, 64, of Rt. 2, Pearson, Ga., passed away Monday, November 25, 2002, at his farm from injuries received in a tractor accident. Mr. Davis, a native of Coffee County, Ga., was born September 20, 1938, the son of Harley, Sr. and Rosa Lee Vickers Davis. He was a poultry farmer, a retired rural route carrier, and a veteran of the U. S. Army. Mr. Davis was a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where he served as Deacon and Sunday School teacher. Survivors include: his wife, Myrtle Fowler Davis of Pearson, Ga.; one son, Melvin Delbert Davis and wife, Melissa, of Pearson, Ga.; one daughter, Rhonda D. McClellan and husband, Dwain, of Pearson, Ga.; one brother, Harley, Jr. (Buck) Davis of Patterson, Ga.; five sisters, Devote Mizell and Simmeon Gillis both of Axson, Ga., Rosemary Oliff of Aiken, S.C., Edith Solvang of Lake Stevens, Wash., and Margaret Grantham of Willacoochee, Ga.; four grandchildren, Justin and Jessica McClellan, and Kevin and Mason Davis; one step- grandchild, Kelly Vickers; and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held Wednesday, November 27, 2002, at 2 p.m., at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, with Rev. William Pope and Rev. Dale Walters officiating. Special musical selections, "On The Other Side" and " Sheltered In The Arms of God," were rendered by The Hayes Sisters with taped accompaniment. Francine Fender, pianist, provided soft music for the prelude and postlude. Interment followed in the Mt. Zion Cemetery. Active pallbearers were nephews: Roger Mizell, H. F. Mizell, Cray Grantham, Josh Grantham, Jason Grantham, Andy Gillis, Ashley Gillis, and Tommy Davis. Honorary pallbearers were Leon Spivey, Lloyd Deen, Clifford Pope, Quillan Taft, Clifford Taft, Harold Vickers, Bernice Sutton, Roland Mitchell, Sr., Ralph Massey, Rev. Bob Pierce, Darwin Corbitt, Bill Huffstuttler, Tom Morris, Dougal Gillis, Jesse Tanner, Clyde Gurley, Clyde Purvis, Buggs Gillis, Donald Mizell, and Herman Tucker. Relihan Funeral Home of Pearson, Ga., was in charge of the final arrangements.

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