Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Ralls Jennings

Ralls Jennings passed away June 27 surrounded by family after a long and full life. He was 89 years old and had been married to his wife, Billie Jean Burns Jennings, for 69 of those years. Ralls was the father of 3 children, Luci Jennings, Russ Jennings (Linda), and Don Jennings (deceased). His grandchildren are Julie King, Evan Webb, Jeanna Edgerton, Belle Jennings, Lucas Jennings, Remy Jennings, Jesse Jennings, Matthew Jennings, and Holly Jennings.

A unique person who led an interesting life, the focus of Ralls’ life was always his love of Billie. Together, they raised a family, started a business, and saw a lot of the world. While Ralls served stateside in the U.S. Air Force during the last years of the Korean war, they began their family with the birth of Luci. Despite having a young family, Ralls worked part time and, with help from the GI Bill, earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Alabama to become the first college graduate in his family. 2 sons were added to the family as he worked several jobs throughout the southeast before the family settled in Trion in 1965 when Ralls became Plant Engineer at Riegel Textile.

In 1972, Ralls and Billie started J Bar Corporation. J Bar became a true family business as all their children worked there and most of the grandchildren were kept there as babies and toddlers by their grandmother, Billie, as she and their parents worked. Today it is being run by the third generation of the family and their children are growing up in the office as their parents and grandmother, Luci, work.

A self-taught artist, Ralls began painting in his early 30’s and continued into his 80’s. He produced over 200 paintings, many of which are proudly displayed in the homes of his children and grandchildren. You can see a catalog of his work at

Ralls and Billie loved to travel and see other cultures. Beginning in the late 60’s when they took the family across Mexico in a pickup truck, they traveled abroad regularly and lived in Mexico for a few years when they were in their 60’s. Business was often the reason for travel as they visited companies in Italy, Denmark, Spain, and China that J Bar traded with. Travel and business led Ralls to study foreign languages and when needed, he could do business or order dinner in Spanish, Italian, and French.

After returning from their Mexico phase, they moved to Midtown Atlanta, where they owned several properties that they rented to young professionals and grad students. Although he never really retired, Ralls concentrated a lot of his painting while in Midtown. Always very active, both Ralls and Billie enjoyed walking the streets of Atlanta, a couple in their 70’s amid all the bustle of the young in the city.

The last few years, Ralls showed his devotion to Billie after the progression of her dementia. The man who had seldom cooked and never cleaned, took over the entire running of their lives from shopping to cooking and cleaning and taking complete care of her physical needs by himself. Only in the last 2 years did they move back to Trion to be near family. On his last day, just seeing Billie seemed to ease his suffering and bring calmness to his mind.

The family will have a private gathering to celebrate the life of their patriarch. Thanks to our friend, Elvia Berry, for her care and support of Ralls and Billie and her friendship to the entire family.

Thanks to Tracey Rogers and the other nurses at Heyman Hospice. We appreciate the care and support he was given by the staff in assisted living at The Spires at Berry College.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mary Opal Kirby

MARY OPAL MER MER KIRBY, age 49, of James Street, Summerville, Georgia passed away Sunday, June 27, 2021, at the residence. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on August 17, 1971, She was an artist by trade. She was preceded in death by her parents Mary Ruth and David Smith and a sister, Rebecca Brown

Surviving are Her daughter, Tassie (Tony) Kirby Bane; sons, Ryan Kirby and Colton Kirby; sisters, Nelda Lindsey, Denise Ramey (John Paul), Tina Hearlson (Gerald), Jacqueline Kay Bates (Jerome), Linda Joan Hathcock, Deborah Terry, Lisa Knowles, Marie Fair, Alecia McGuire and Nischa Whitaker; brothers, Danny Colbert, Kenneth Colbert, Michael Colbert, Kenneth Bates, Randy Bates, Chance Bates; grandchildren, Madison Green, Devin Kirby, Zeppelin Kirby, Shianne Cisson, Anthony Bane, Drew Bane, and Aiden Bane.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 1st, at 11:00 A.M. from the J. D. Hill Memorial Chapel of Earle Rainwater Funeral Home with Rev. Tracy Espy officiating, interment in Dogwood Hills Memorial Garden. Active Pallbearers Zach Bates, James Colbert, Anthony Hogue, Dwight Ponder, Steven Hamby, Jason Lindsey, R. J. (Peko) Brown, and Joshua Bates; Honorary Pallbearers Madison Green, Devin Kirby, and Chase Tucker. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6 until 8 P.M. at the Funeral Home.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge of arrangements for Ms. Mary Opal Mer Mer Kirby, who passed away Sunday.

Shannon Ydean Pierce

MS. SHANNON YDEAN PIERCE, age 50, of Scoggins Street, Summerville, Georgia, passed away Monday, June 28, 2021, in a Rome hospital following an extended illness. She was born on April 9, 1971 in Oneonta, Alabama to the late Margaret Lee Siffles Hathcock and Bert Hathcock who survives. She was a homemaker. In addition to Her Mother, she was preceded in death by a son, Jonathan Pierce, and siblings Tammy Rector, Brian Hathcock, Patricia Hathcock, Keith Hathcock, Dennis Hathcock, and Wilburn Ash.

Surviving are daughters, Brandi Pierce, Kassie Pierce, and Ashley Pickle; father, Bert Hathcock; sister, Tina Hathcock; brothers, Tim Hathcock, Vernon Ash, and Michael Hathcock; seven Grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 30th, at 11:00 A.M. from the J. D. Hill Memorial Chapel of Earle Rainwater Funeral Home with Rev. Steve Collins officiating, interment in West Hill Cemetery. Active Pallbearers Tim Hathcock, Vernon Ash, Caleb Rhinehart, Ben Pickle, Kenny Ledford, Shane Elrod, Gregory Green, and Richard Milstead; Honorary Pallbearers Tristan Ash, Caden Ash, Cody Boyd, Austin Hathcock. Visitation will be Wednesday from 10 til 11 A.M. at the Funeral Home.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge of arrangements for Ms. Shannon Ydean Pierce.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Shannon Leah Baker

MS. SHANNON LEAH BAKER, age 49, of Lyerly, Georgia, passed away unexpectedly Thursday, June 24, 2021, in a Rome Hospital. Born in Rome, Georgia on June 19, 1972, She was a daughter of the late Darwin and Robbie White Baker; she was a waitress.

Surviving are son, Johnny Foster; granddaughters, Arsinoe, Georgia, Marley, and Kalija; brothers, Jason Baker and Nicholas Dooley.

Funeral service will be held Wednesday, June 30th, at 1:00 P.M. from the J. D. Hill Memorial Chapel of Earle Rainwater Funeral Home with Rev. Melvin Moseley officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday from 12 noon until 1:00 P.M. at the Funeral Home.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge of arrangements for Ms. Shannon Leah Baker, who passed away Wednesday.

Roger Wayne Dawson

ROGER WAYNE DAWSON, 72 of Summerville passed away Friday, June 25, 2021 at his residence. Mr. Dawson was born September 3, 1948 in Summerville, Georgia, son to the late Lovick V. Dawson and Velma Grigsby Dawson. Roger was a farmer by trade and a member of the Fisher’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia Tudor Dawson; son, Ben (Ashley Hill) Dawson; brothers, Earl Dawson and Melvin Dawson; grandchildren, Tristan Dawson, Trent Dawson and Tripp Dawson. Several nieces and nephews also survive.

Funeral service will be held on Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 4:30 pm from the J.D. Hill Memorial Chapel of Earle Rainwater Funeral Home with Rev. Ray Teems officiating. Interment in the Fisher’s Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery. Active Pallbearers will be Ben Dawson, Tristan Dawson, Trent Dawson, Kevin Espy, Eli Espy and Craig Sanford. Visitation will be Sunday from 3:30 – 4:30 at the Funeral Home.

Earle Rainwater in charge of arrangements for Roger Wayne Dawson who passed away Friday.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Roy Eugene Durham

ROY EUGENE DURHAM, age 91, of Rome passed away Thursday, June 24, 2021. He was born on February 7, 1930 in Chattooga County, son of the late Albert Joe Durham and Vergie Dockery Durham. Roy was employed with the Sanitation Department of the City of Summerville and Church of God by faith. He was preceded in death by former wives, Martha Collins and Shirley Swan; son, Sherman ”Shotgun” Durham; brothers, Bill Durham, Roy “Pete” Huggins, and sister, Margaret Bazel

Surviving are his daughters, Marlene (Neal) Ashmore and Denane (Ray) Caldwell; son, Billy Joe Durham (Judy May Edgeworth); step son, Michael (Wanda) Barnes, ten grandchildren, several great grandchildren and special friend, Regina Loveless.

Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 2 p.m. from the Freedom Fellowship Church with Ray Caldwell and Steve Collins officiating, Interment in Macedonia Cemetery. Active Pallbearers will be Eathen Caldwell, Jacob Caldwell, Jeffery Caldwell, Ray Ray Caldwell, Billy Ray Collins and Bobby Joe Durham. Honorary Pallbearers will be Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, Justin Durham, Pete Huggins, Scotty Caldwell, Justin Durham and Steve Lawson. Mr. Durham will be in state at the residence of a daughter, Denane and Ray Caldwell, #1022 Martin Street, Summerville, Georgia after 5:00 P.M. Sunday.

Earle Rainwater in charge of arrangements for Roy Eugene Durham who passed away Thursday.

Marty Ray Strange

MARTY RAY STRANGE of Duluth, Georgia, formerly of Chattooga County, passed away in a Rome Hospital after a brief illness on Wednesday June 23, 2021. Marty was born in Chattooga County on November 15, 1952 to the late Raymond Wesley and Maxine Helton Strange. He is also preceded in death by two brothers, Ricky and Joe Strange. Marty was a 1970 graduate of Chattooga High School and attended Floyd Junior College. He was recently retired from Whole Foods Distribution in Braselton, Georgia.

Marty is survived by his son, Clint (Megan) Strange, two grandchildren, Emma and Eli of Acworth, GA, and his ex-wife, Gail Cook. Also surviving are two brothers, Lewis Strange of Trion, GA and Bobby Strange of Birmingham, AL, two sisters, Pat Brison of Holand, GA and Sally Strange of Summerville, GA, several nieces and nephews and also four beloved dogs, Barney, Sam, Emma, and Cindy.

Marty was an avid reader, loved to snorkel, and rescued and adopted many dogs during his lifetime. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and visiting Little River Canyon and Fort Walton Beach.

The family is planning a private memorial to honor his life at a later date.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements for Marty Ray Strange who passed away Wednesday.

Christopher Scott Montgomery

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT MONTGOMERY, 37 of Trion passed away Wednesday, June 23, 2021.  Mr. Montgomery was born on January 26, 1984 in Rome, Georgia, son of Jeffery Scott Montgomery and Emily Diane Warren Mountain. He was a member of the Trion Harvest Worship Center and was employed with Mohawk on the wash line. 


Surviving are his mother, Emily Diane Mountain; children, Karter Montgomery and Briar Montgomery; fiancée, Hannah Filyow; sister, Amber Hines; niece Emily Hines.


Funeral service will be held Monday, June 28, 2021 at 2 p.m. from the J.D. Hill Memorial Chapel of Earle Rainwater Funeral Home with Mark Crowe officiating, Interment in Greenhills Memory Garden. The family will receive friends from 1 until the hour of service. Active Pallbearers will be Anthony Hines, Vernon Ash, B.J. Ingram, James Warren, Mark Crowe, and Greg Standfield.


Earle Rainwater in charge of arrangements for Christopher Scott Montgomery who passed away on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Linda Sue Meadows

LINDA SUE MEADOWS, age 79, of Orchard Hill Road, Summerville, Georgia, passed away Wednesday, June 23, 2021, at her residence. A native Chattooga Countian, She was born on January 4, 1942, to the late Charles Martin Wesson, Sr. and Jacqueline Kellett Wesson. Ms. Meadows was a member of Perennial Springs Baptist Church, retired cosmetologist, and a member of the VFW Post #6688 Ladies Auxiliary. She was preceded in death by sons the late, Robin C. Meadows and M. Randal “Randy” Meadows, sisters, the late Hazel W. Millican and Rose Mary W. Johnson.

Surviving are daughter, Renee Meadows Ware (David); Son- Davin Meadows (Kristi); grandchildren, John Ware (Jessica), Brandon Meadows, Tom Meadows, Angel Meadows, Patrick Greene, Landon Wesson, Charity Greene, Brianna Greene; great-granddaughters, Sophia Keen and Addie Mae Ware; brother, Charles Wesson; aunt, Frances K. Ledford; uncle, Paul Kellett.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, June 27th, at 2:00 P.M. from the J. D. Hill Memorial Chapel of Earle Rainwater Funeral Home with Brother Tom Russell and Brother Tracy Espy officiating, interment in Perennial Springs Cemetery. Active Pallbearers Micha Lively, Zach Lively Ricky Johnson, Roger Wooten, Tye McGuire, Dillon McGuire, and Colman Ledford; Honorary Pallbearers, Billy Brown, Ike and Mary Henderson and the VFW Post #6688 Ladies Auxiliary. Visitation will be Sunday from 1 until 2 P.M. at the funeral home.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge of arrangements for Linda Sue Meadows, who passed away Wednesday.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Mrs. Joan Prescott Whaley

MRS. JOAN PRESCOTT WHALEY, age 81, of Maple Drive, Summerville, Georgia passed away Saturday morning, June 12, 2021, at Her residence. Born in Opp, Alabama on October 2, 1939 to the late George Andrew Mack and Ruth Bryan Mack. Mrs. Whaley attended Mercer Nursing School in Atlanta and was Administrator (Retired) at the Chattooga County Health Department. In addition to Her Parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, the late Marvin Whaley and daughters the late Angela Caceres and Susan Whaley.

Surviving are son and spouse, Steve and Melody Whaley; sister and Spouse, Elaine and Phil Lamey; four Grandchildren.

A visitation will be held Tuesday, June 15th, from 2 until 4 P.M. at Earle Rainwater Funeral Home, with burial in the Family plot of Summerville Cemetery.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Jeffrey Gorman Gilley

Jeffrey Gorman Gilley

November 27, 1957 – June 2, 2021

Jeffrey Gorman Gilley, 63, formerly of Athens, Georgia, died Wednesday, June 2, 2021 in Cherokee County, Alabama of natural causes. He was born in Rome, Georgia on November 27, 1957, graduated from Jacksonville State University in 1980 and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1983. The son of the late Clarence Gorman Gilley and Dorothy Slater Gilley of Summerville, Georgia, he was an accomplished attorney, historian, and outdoorsman.

Over the course of his 25-year career as a criminal defense and trial lawyer, he practiced with the deepest respect for his clients as human beings in need of counsel, the United States Constitution (a copy of which was almost always in his suit pocket), and the laws of Georgia. He served as a public defender upon graduation from law school, which led to extensive skill in criminal and civil litigation. While in Athens, he often provided legal work for many at little or no cost, including indigent clients, musical acts, and friends.

He is survived by three sons, John Porter Gilley, Samuel Cobb Gilley, Thomas Houston Gilley, of Athens, Georgia and by his stepson, Will Frame of Gainesville, Georgia. Also surviving are his sister, Carole Smith (Jim) of Versailles, Kentucky, his cousin Jan Cordle (Lann) of Summerville, nieces Ashley Keck and Andrea (Patrick) Abell, along with two great nieces, a great nephew, cousins, and many loving friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations made to Nuci’s Space, 396 Oconee St., Athens, GA 30601, an organization dedicated to ending the stigma of mental illness and alleviating the suffering for those living with a brain illness.

A memorial celebration of Jeff’s life will be held in Athens, Georgia at a later date.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. John E. Majors

MR. JOHN E. MAJORS,, age 82, of Massey Road, Menlo, Georgia passed away Friday evening, June 11, 2021, at his residence. He was born in Fulton County, Georgia on May 7, 1939 to the late James Parker and Edna Switzer Majors. Mr. Majors was a member of the Menlo Baptist Church, a Veteran of Korea, having served in the U. S. Army, and was Manager (Retired) for Otis Elevator Company. In addition to Parents He was predeceased by a daughter, the late Kathy Steiner and a sister, the late Edna Elizabeth Majors.

Surviving are His wife, Gloria Lynch Majors; daughter, Diana Blaszak; son, Gary Pavelka; brother, James Majors; seven Grandchildren, one Great Granddaughter; Nieces and Nephews.

Funeral service will be held Monday, June 14th, at 2:00 P.M. from Graveside in Majors Cemetery, Menlo, Georgia, with Mr. Brad Majors officiating. Active Pallbearers, Brad Majors, Doug Majors, Todd Kaminer, Jason Wright, Eddie Massey, C. E. Massey; Honorary Pallbearers, Lee Massey, Mike Larkins, Gary Pavelka, Kody Kaminer, Parker Mitchell, and Frank Blaszak. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Chattooga County Animal Advocates, P. O. Box 220, Summerville, Georgia-30747.

Earle Rainwater Funeral Home in charge of arrangements for Mr. John Edward Majors who passed away Friday night.