Dub Jones, a beloved athlete, coach and teacher, died Wednesday.
"He was one of a kind," said his son-in-law Jimmy Hope. "We're going to miss him. But 85 years is a long time to have somebody special. He lived a full life."
Born in Banks County in 1925, Jones' early life was dominated by sports. Jones played for the New Holland Mill baseball team and was then drafted into the Detroit Tigers minor league team operation. He also served in the Navy during World War II.
Before poultry was king, textile mills ruled the landscape of Northeast Georgia.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, baseball teams from area mills played in competitive industrial leagues.
"It was really a high level of sports," Hope said. "A lot of professional ball players came out of the industrial league."
Jones' son, Dalva, said his father was especially proud of competing against some of the top players in the game.
"When he was on the mill team they played against the Atlanta Crackers, which was a pro team," Dalva Jones said. "When he played in the military baseball league he played against Ted Williams."
After a stint in the minor leagues, Jones returned to Georgia to get his degree in education and support his wife and five children.
It was in Hall County that he found his love of teaching. Jones became East Hall High School's first coach when he started up the school's football and basketball programs
"Sports and education — he loved teaching kids and being able to help them," said his daughter-in-law, Sandra Jones. "He has taught so many kids around the area, and he a lot of times had the at-risk kids. A lot of times he was more than just a teacher to them."
During his career, Jones also taught at Lula, Riverbend and North Hall high schools.
Hope said Jones always loved helping others, whether it was helping students find scholarships or driving friends to the grocery store or the doctor's office in his old age.
"He helped so many people, it was unbelievable," Hope said.
Jones founded the Old Timers League, a group dedicated to the men in the area who played baseball for the mills. He also served two terms on the Hall County Board of Education.
Sandra Jones said he was always very proud of his family.
She said some of his children and grandchildren even took after him and got scholarships to play ball in college.
Hope said despite his varied and interesting accomplishments, his family was most important.
"That was one of the highlights of his life. And that's the sign of a good man," Hope said.