Gainesville Masonic Lodge 219 in Gainesville presented T.J. Kemp with his 50-year Masonic pin and apron at a gathering of family, fellow Masons and longtime friends he had not seen in years.
Among family members attending were his wife, Grace; his daughters, Jeanene and Lisa; his granddaughters, Courtney and Jordan; and his grandsons, Copelan and Cameron.
Kemp is well-known locally as the “Coca-Cola” man, having spent almost four decades with the company in Gainesville. He began working for Coca-Cola when the bottling plant was in the building still standing on Green Street and is now occupied by offices. As a teenager, Kemp was one of only seven employees. At 18 years old, he started driving a Coca-Cola route that included North Hall County as well as Dawson and Lumpkin counties. He earned several promotions before succedding Ross Burnes as manager in 1978. Kemp retired in 1984.
He has a room filled with Coco-Cola memorabilia in his Gainesville home.