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Hall remembers those lost in 2011

Community lost entertainers, businessmen, leaders and officials

POSTED: January 1, 2012 10:48 p.m.

Hall County said goodbye to several business leaders, educators and other notable local figures in 2011. The following is a list of some of those the community lost in the past year.

 

Betty Marie Fain

Betty Fain, co-founder and face of Betty's Country Store in Helen, died exactly one year ago today at the age of 83.

She started the mom-and-pop shop in Northeast Georgia's alpine village along with her late husband George as "something to do," her daughter Kelly Goins told The Times.

David Jones, owner of Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen in Helen, called Fain "an institution" in Helen.

Fain and her husband had retired in the late 1990s but still visited the store, which is much the same as when they ran it.

"The one word that describes my mom the most is a caregiver," Goins said. "Just really wanted to make sure everybody was OK and taken care of."

 

Wayne Bradshaw

Wayne Bradshaw, a longtime football and track coach at East Hall, died Feb. 5 doing something he loved — hiking with a group from the Northeast Georgia Hiking Club. He was 67.

Bradshaw coached from 1974-2000 at Morgan County and East Hall, compiling a 171-111-3 record. He went 85-59 with the Vikings, leading them to eight playoff appearances and was named The Times All-Area Coach of the Year in 1993.

He was a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and served on the Hall of Fame Committee. In 2000, he was awarded the Bobby Gruhn Lifetime Achievement Award.

"He was always a great coach, but he was a better dad," said Wayne's son and North Hall track coach Joe Bradshaw, who played for and coached with him. "He was very involved in football but he always made time for us. Even when I was playing (football) in college, he came every Saturday. His love for people and working with kids is what made him so different."

 

Bill Evans

Bill Evans, a former Hall County commissioner who served only a few months on the board after a recall election in the 1970s, died Feb. 12 at the age of 72.

Evans was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1978 representing South Hall. He and the other board members were caught in a controversy shortly into his term after they voted to contract county fire and ambulance services with a private company in 1979 and eliminate the county-funded fire department.

The move resulted in a recall petition, then a vote in which all five members were ousted that April.

More recently, Evans served for four years, 2007-10, on the Hall County Planning Commission after he was appointed by former District 1 Commissioner Bobby Banks.

"He was always opinionated, and he cared a lot about Hall County," Banks said. "He would always help you do anything."

 

John Owen

John Owen, longtime president of North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, died Feb. 15 at age 88.

In his 22 years at the school, Owen helped it double in size but also pushed its academic bounds, expanding programming and community outreach.

Owen's involvement in the community continued until his death, and there were few projects in Lumpkin County he wasn't involved in, said friend and colleague Gerald Lord. Most notably, he helped bring Chestatee Regional Hospital to Dahlonega and championed the extension of Ga. 400 into the county.

 

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy, the first female to be elected to public office in Hall County, died Feb. 23 at the age of 91.

Murphy won a seat on the Hall County Schools Board of Education in 1983, and she served a second term that ended in 1990. Before entering politics, Murphy taught for 32 years and was the first special education teacher in Hall County.

"She had a calm demeanor and when a problem arose, she had a common sense approach to it," said former colleague Jane Kesler.

 

Gene Bishop

Gene Bishop, the retired owner and president of Health Service Centers Inc., which operated long-term health care and acute-care centers, as well as pharmacies, died March 23 at the age of 76.

Hunting was one of his many passions, said his pastor, Jim Gaines of First Baptist Church of Dawsonville. Bishop lived in Africa 3 1/2 months of the year.

"His home is in the middle of a game preserve, maybe about 350,000 acres (in size)," Gaines said.

Bishop was past national president of the Jaycees' U.S. Junior Chamber International Senate, former president of the North Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and a major benefactor of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

He was well-known in political circles and was a friend of Gov. Nathan Deal.

 

Joy The Clown

Joy The Clown, a lifelong entertainer, died March 22.

In the 1960s, Clown was living in New York City and had developed a character named Sonny Whetson. He performed in parks and theaters and was an official city entertainer under Mayor John Lindsay. He came to Gainesville in the 1970s and at some point before that legally changed his name to Joy The Clown.

He had a show called "Joy's Club House" that aired more than 60 episodes in its two years.

For the last 12 years of his life, Clown served ice cream at the Corner Drugstore on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.

"He could make a pun about anything, a joke about everything," said his daughter, Tiffany de Bruyn. "I'll miss that."

 

Bill Dupree

Bill Dupree, who worked 25 years for America's Home Place, died May 5.

One of his accomplishments just before his death, according to his obituary, was the negotiation with owners of Olive Garden and Cheddar's Casual Cafe to sell land for new restaurants now open on Dawsonville Highway at Beechwood Boulevard in Gainesville.

 

Frank Turk

Longtime Hall County businessman Frank Turk, 78, died Sept. 2.

Turk owned several businesses, mostly restaurants, during his lifetime, including Burger Chef on Green Street and Atlanta Highway, and several Hardees eateries throughout the area. He also owned Frank Turk Automotive Repair on McEver Road.

He served on many boards through the years, including Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Hall County Development Authority, Hall County Civil Service Board and Oakwood Development Authority.

William Bagwell, a friend, described Turk as a "doer."

"When he saw a need in this community, he rolled up his sleeves and went to work," he said. "He did not seek credit, but (he) looked for results."

 

Gwendolyn Mundy

Gwendolyn Mundy, a longtime Hall County educator, died Sept. 8 at the age of 82.

"She was just a very involved lady," said Lee Lovett, deputy superintendent of Hall County Schools. "She was a great lady to work with, she was a lady that you knew where she stood, she said what she meant and she meant what she said."

Among her many titles, Mundy served as a member of the Brenau Board of Trustees since 1992.

 

W. Byron Turk

Former Hall County Tax Commissioner W. Byron Turk, 94, died Oct. 20.

Turk began his post as tax commissioner Jan. 31, 1961.

"He was always effective in what he did and was always respected," said his former secretary, Mildred Pinson.

One of Turk's most prominent actions as commissioner came during his second year in office, in the midst of segregation. A firm believer in equality, Turk desegregated the voting forms, changing the yellow forms reserved for African-American voters to the same white paper used for Caucasian voters.

 

Larry Munson

Larry Munson's growling delivery as the voice of the Georgia Bulldogs for nearly 43 years made him as celebrated as the players and coaches he covered. On Nov. 20, he died at the age of 89.

Munson's broadcasting career covered more than 60 years and included a stint with the Atlanta Braves when they moved from Milwaukee in 1966.

But he'll always be remembered as the radio play-by-play announcer at Georgia, endearing himself to generations of fans with his quirky calls and unabashed partisanship for the Bulldogs.

"I know no announcer has ever meant more to the alumni and their supporters and to an institution than Larry Munson has meant to Georgia," former coach Vince Dooley said at a December memorial. "He delivered our triumphs and our tragedies, our thrills and our agonies, and he did it in a variety of ways."

 

John Jacobs

Local radio pioneer John W. Jacobs Jr., 88, died Nov. 23.

He began his radio career in 1949 when he founded radio station WDUN-AM and began operating the second FM station in Georgia. He eventually acquired WGGA, the city's oldest radio station, and served as chairman in the family-run business, Jacobs Media.

He was also a strong supporter of Riverside Military Academy and Brenau University, and he was a leading force in the creation of the Northeast Georgia History Center.

"Being around him was always an inspiration," said Ray Burch, a longtime family friend, "He was full of so many ideas and he was always thinking about something positive."

 

Miller Watkins

Miller Watkins, former district manager for Georgia Power and a prominent Gainesville businessman, died on Friday.



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