A South Georgia native who went on to become the first leader of what is now known as Lanier Technical College has died.
John H. Lloyd Jr. “was a pioneer for the Technical College System of Georgia and he had an impact on many of those currently in the system and those of us who have retired, like me,” said Russell Vandiver, who stepped down as Lanier Tech president in March after a nearly 37-year career at the Oakwood-based school.
“John was a friend and deserves a lot of the credit for Lanier Technical College becoming the outstanding institution it is today.”
Lloyd was 79 when he died Thursday at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Kosciusko after an extended illness, according to his obituary from Perry Funeral Chapel in Turner County in South Georgia. A funeral service and burial was held Monday.
A sharecropper’s son, he was born in born in Dodge County and grew up in Turner.
In 1965, 31-year-old Lloyd became the first director of what would become Lanier Area Technical School. He had served as a vo-tech administrator in Marietta, where he had also worked for Lockheed, according to newspaper clippings at the time.
“There wasn’t an office for the director, nor classrooms for the students,” according to a 1992 retrospective story in The Times.
Lanier Tech began its first classes in temporary locations in the fall of 1966, with Lloyd at the helm, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Longtime Hall County resident Lloyd Harrison recalled working for him.
“He knew how to handle people,” said Harrison, an electrical instructor. “He knew how to get you in the frame of mind where you could do the job.”
“Lanier Tech probably would not exist today were it not for the efforts of Dr. Lloyd,” said Jimmy Wilson, a Turner County resident and Lanier Tech’s first electronic technology program instructor.
“Dr. Lloyd had friends in high places and was able to get whatever funding he needed to build the finest technical school in the state of Georgia,” added Wilson, who had known Lloyd since 1944.
Lloyd, who also was a U.S. Army veteran, resigned in 1967 to become state coordinator of area technical training programs with the State Vocational Education Department.
He later earned his earned his doctorate in education leadership from Georgia State University in Atlanta and retired as deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Technical & Adult Education, according to his obituary.
The DTAE is now known as the Technical College System of Georgia.
Lloyd “helped train thousands of Georgians and thus assisted the state’s economy,” the obituary states.
His family said in an email that “although John left Gainesville to enjoy a remarkable career in postsecondary vocational-technical education at the state level, he always cherished his time in Gainesville and Lanier Tech.
“Both held a special place in his heart because he built the school and served as its first director.”