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Lake Lanier Association loses two key figures, including former longtime leader
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From left, Jackie Joseph and Vicki Barnhorst, both with the Lake Lanier Association, sit and talk with Jim Paine, an Alpharetta city councilman in 2007. Joseph, a former president who led the Gainesville-based Lanier advocacy organization for 30 years, died Jan. 20, 2021. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan

Lake Lanier Association is mourning the loss of two leaders, one past and one present, who died this month.

Jackie Joseph, a former president who led the Gainesville-based advocacy organization for 30 years, died Jan. 20. And Rich York, who also served as vice president of operations on the board of directors, died Jan. 13.

Joseph was 89 and York was 72.

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Rich York, of the Lake Lanier Association, visits a group of islands Tuesday, June 16, 2020, that have had rip rap installed to stop erosion. The Association's 2-year effort to restore Lake Lanier's many islands, which had been eroding from waves caused by passing boats, finished in May. York, who also served as vice president of operations on the board of directors, died Jan. 13, 2021. - photo by Scott Rogers

Joseph’s “vision and leadership raised awareness for the Lake Lanier Association and positioned us to be the respected advocacy group we are today,” the organization said in its newsletter Tuesday, Jan. 26. “We all owe her a debt of thanks.”

York “had his hand and guidance on numerous programs,” the group said.

He was heavily involved in trying to stop erosion from taking place on the lake’s many islands.

With the funding help of governments and others, the association spent nearly $500,000 putting riprap, or heavy rocks, around the islands dotting the 38,000-acre lake. The rocks were placed along heavily eroded areas, which had turned into sheer cliffs exposing red dirt and sediment.

“This project is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished for the lake through joint partnerships,” York said at the time. “Each funding partner could not afford to complete this work alone. However, together we were able to protect these islands from disappearing completely.”

The group said in the newsletter that York would “volunteer a helping hand any time it was needed. He is sorely missed already.”

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