We have lost four significant men in our community in the past year. All four left their footprints for others to follow. They gave their money, and especially their time, to the youth of Gainesville and Hall County.
Mickey Long spent many hours encouraging and supporting Gainesville High School activities; Gene Marlow coached youngsters through the Boys and Girls Clubs and park and rec for almost 60 years; Bobby Hall served the county as a court bailiff for over a quarter of a century and worked with young people as an official; and last but not least, Ralph Howington served as a Little League coach and had the largest parades to begin the spring sports season in the 60s and 70s. It was so big the Department of Transportation had it stopped because it interfered with traffic on a state highway (Green Street).
Ralph also had a great sense of humor. When I visited him shortly before his death, he told me to put a wreath on his door because so many people were coming by, he might as well be dead. May God bless their souls.
I did not include Jack Frost, “Big Jim” Walters and Frank Norton Sr. because they got very strong positive comments and public recognition for their service to the community.
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