Obituaries

Aaron, Robert

Robert Aaron of Atlanta, Georgia died on December 26, 2018 the age of 66 from complications of a brain injury from a fall. He is survived by his wife Judith, his daughter Rachel, her husband Travis, and his grandson Nathan.  He was a loving and supportive father, a beloved grandfather, and the dearest and best of companions to his wife.  Rob was the son of R.T. and Sarah Frances Aaron, deceased,  of Calhoun, Georgia.

He was an active member of the Atlanta musical community, singing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus under the direction of Robert Shaw and as a staff singer for various Atlanta faith communities.  His special joy was singing with the acclaimed Atlanta Singers from their debut in 1976 to April of 2016. He also sang with Atlanta Chamber Singers, another highly regarded local ensemble.

Rob will be much missed at St. Luke's Episcopal, his church home for 40 years, where he served in the choir, as a member of the television crew, and as a member of the ringing band of St. Luke's change ringing bells.  He married his beloved wife, Judith, at St. Luke's in 1981 in an innovative music-crammed service that was not only one of the first video-recorded weddings in Atlanta, but, at 90 minutes, also one of the longest.

Raised in Calhoun, Rob graduated from Emory University, earning both a BA with Honors in Political Science and a Masters in Library Science.  He was an active member of the library community, working as a reference librarian at Georgia State University and the Atlanta Journal/Constitution before founding AaronSmith Associates, Inc, in 1981, an innovative research company specializing in the then arcane field of online research.

AaronSmith tackled a variety of unusual tasks, from supplying the factoids for CNN Headline News, producing analytical news coverage comparisons for such companies as Coca-Cola and UPS and producing fast-turnaround, in-depth research for the PR departments of Atlanta's leading companies.

The company also participated in the early information economy with the sale of full-text database software that ran on a TRS-80 computer and the development of prototype online publishing, including a Georgia legislative news service and the first online offering of the Atlanta Journal Constitution movie reviews.

Rob also enjoyed teaching reference at the Clarke Atlanta University library school and  later was a researcher at the local public radio station, WABE.  At the time of his death, Rob was a reference librarian with Georgia Gwinnett College.

Rob's kindness and dependability enhanced every rehearsal and committee meeting. From too-well-worn stories shared with the “poker buddies” from Calhoun to the latest political insights, Rob cheered and entertained his fellow-travelers.  His charm, wide-ranging intelligence, and elfin wit will be sorely missed by his friends and co-workers, but most of all by his family.

The funeral service will be at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308 on Wednesday, January 9th at 3pm.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, memo: Rob Aaron Music Fund, or to the Training and Counseling Center, https://www.trainingandcounselingcenter.org/, 98 Currier Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308.

Autry, Mary Edna Rotton

Mary Edna Rotton Autry, age 67 of Calhoun, passed away on Friday, January 4, 2019 in Kindred Hospital of Rome.

Mary was born on May 11, 1951 in Troup County, GA to the late Joseph Rotton and Louise Batchelor Rotton. In addition to her parents, Mary was also preceded in death by: two sisters, Betty Jo Counts and Alice Jackson; brother, Johnny Rotton; nephew, Steve Hewett; niece, Melanie Smith; and Harold and Cora Autry who were more than just a mother-in-law and father-in-law, they accepted her as their daughter. She was a member of East Calhoun Church of God.

Mary was a kind, life-loving, giving person. She would help anyone, any way she could. Mary was always devoted to her family and friends. Mary grew up in Troup County, GA with five sisters and one brother. She continued her education for two years after high school at Berry College, as an education major, when she met the love of her life. Mary and "Frog" Newton married in 1971 and began a family. Mary worked many long, hard hours to provide for her family and made a loving home. She worked for several years at Gordon Health Care as a CNA. Mary always made people feel special and showed them she cared for them in her service, in her cooking and baking, in her welcoming spirit when you entered her home. Mary loved decorating for the holidays, Christmas especially. She had a talent for working with flowers, and has passed that love on to her granddaughter, Libby. Mary always made a way, worked extra hours to provide when her children wanted something special or to be a part of something outside of church and school. Mary loved her family, talking to her sisters, spending time with her children and grandchildren. Mary had a special love for her son-in-law, Curtis who loved her as a mom. She always wanted him to pray for her. She was so proud to attend and support her children and grandchildren's endeavors. She would travel to see Ashli play soccer or march on the football field, Dylan sing at church and march in band, Julia perform in theatre productions, and Libby win pageants or have a special dinner together with her and Jesse. She endured a lot of health issues in her life time, but never let that stop her and always persevered through the hardest of times with a smile and encouraged everyone around her. Mary's legacy will live on through anyone who knew her, especially her family and friends.

Mary is survived by: her husband, Fred Newton Autry; two daughters, Angel Autry Stanley and her husband Curtis, and Dawn Autry Waddell and her husband Bo; and son, Joe Autry and his fiance CeCe; "Mary was a devoted wife for 47 years, a special and supportive mama to her kids." Mary is also survived by: her grandchildren, Libby Farmer Nickelson and her husband Jesse; Ashli Rose Farmer, Dylan Curtis Stanley, and Julia Grace Stanley; "She was the best Nannie and loved her babies with all her heart."

Additional survivors include: her special sisters, Doris Jackson, Barbara "Bobbie" Watkins and her husband Carlton, and Nancy Davis and her husband John; nieces and nephews, Jeanette Scott, Pam Weaver, Jeff Crouch, Barbara Parrott, Annette Counts, Amy Davis, Paul Davis, Terri Deieso, Wendy Weston, Debbie Autry, Donna Rinedoller, and Dena Wright. Extended family: Buddy Autry, Marion Autry, Dan and Pat Autry, Steve and Margaret Autry, Wayne and Diane Jackson, Joy Padgett Johnson, Francis Parker Coulter and her husband Bob, Don Leatherwood, Donnie "BAMA" Gaddison, and Louise and Bennie Stanley.

"Special people that Mary loved throughout her lifetime that she would want to thank and remember that helped her along the way: Rev, Alford Larson and the late Barbara Larson, Ma and Pa Padgett, and the late Mr. Dan Biggers."

A Celebration of Life will be conducted on Sunday, January 6th at 5 PM from the Chapel of Thomas Funeral Home with Reverend Keith Reid, Reverend Al Larson, Reverend Marvin Jackson, and Reverend David Peeler officiating.

The family will receive friends on Sunday from 3:30 PM until the funeral hour at 5 PM at the funeral home.

You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com.

Thomas Funeral Home oversees the arrangements for Mary Edna Rotton Autry, age 67 of Calhoun.

Brooks, Annie Chastain

Annie Chastain Brooks, age 95 of Calhoun, passed away on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 at her residence.

Annie was born on July 7, 1923 in Gordon County to the late Clarence Eugene Chastain and Lois Goss Chastain. In addition to her parents, Annie was also preceded in death by: her husband, Fate "Jack" Brooks; sister, Ruth King; and two brothers, Alfred Chastain and Herman Chastain. Annie was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Annie is survived by: her daughter, Mary Dean and her husband Jimmy of Calhoun; sister, Sue Rutledge and her husband Ernest of Resaca; two grandchildren, Jamin Dean and his wife Amanda, and Mallory Dean; and one great-grandson, Bennett Brooks Dean.

Funeral Services will be conducted on Friday, January 4th at 4 PM from the Chapel of Thomas Funeral Home with Jamin Dean and John King officiating. Interment will follow in Fain Cemetery with Jamin Dean, John King, Eric Rutledge, Trey Pierson, Jordan Dean, and Blake Dean serving as pallbearers.

The family will receive friends on Friday an hour prior to the funeral at the funeral home.

You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com.

Thomas Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Annie Chastain Brooks, age 95 of Calhoun.

Brown, Major Jimmy Fain

Major Jimmy Fain Brown, age 76 of Calhoun, passed away on Friday, January 4, 2019 at Ridgewood Manor of Dalton.

Jimmy was born on January 5, 1942 in Gordon County to the late Tasker Brown and Maudain Whitner Brown. In addition to his parents, Jimmy was also preceded in death by: a brother, Charles Fain Brown; and nephew, Dwane Brown. Jimmy served as a Major in the Georgia National Guard for 26 years. He was the owner of Dixie Transport for over 37 years and was the first Mayor of Resaca. Jimmy was a member of the Resaca Masonic Lodge #724 F&AM, Echota Vann Shriners Club, American Legion Post #47, and the Gordon County Hospital Authority.

Jimmy is survived by: his former wife, Linda Brown; daughter, Kelley Brown Braga; son, Kevin Brown; two brothers, Johnny Brown, and Tim Brown and his wife Tasha; three grandchildren, Anna Belle Brown, Zeke Brown, and Mitch Braga.

Funeral Services will be conducted on Sunday, January 6th at 1 PM from the Chapel of Thomas Funeral Home with Reverend Harold Blackstock officiating. Interment will follow in Chandler Cemetery.

Pallbearers serving include: Paul Walker, Boyd Highfield, Gary Graham, JR Burchette, Trammel Burchette, and Michael Whittemore. Honorary Pallbearers are: Jimmy Wong, Bobby Rodgers, Dale Hice, the members of the Resaca Masonic Lodge #724, and the members of the Echota Van Shriners Club. Pallbearers and Honorary Pallbearers are asked to be at the funeral home at 12:30 PM on Sunday.

The family will receive friends on Saturday from 1 PM until 6 PM at funeral home.

You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com.

Thomas Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Major Jimmy Fain Brown, age 76 of Calhoun.

DeFoor, Mary Jo

Mary Jo DeFoor, age 85 of Ooltewah, TN, passed away on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at Erlanger Hospital.

Mary was born on April 6, 1933 in rural North GA to the late William Isaac Davis and Maggie Nola Davis. She was also preceded in death by: her brothers and sisters, Myrtle Caldwell, Thelma Moon, Opal Wilson, Paul Davis, Tony (Red) Davis, Watson Davis, and Bill Davis.

Although raised during the depression and with limited early education, as a young mother she pursued lessons in voice at Lee University and became known in her circles for her singing ability. She became well read in her Seventh Day Adventist beliefs endeavoring to continue a pursuit of knowledge about her Church and its relevancy to her life and her loved ones. This was all accomplished while being a young wife and raising three children.

Mary is survived by: her husband of 70 years Kenneth (Bo) DeFoor; her children: daughter, Mona Leth; two sons, Byron (Susan) DeFoor and Ken (Judy) DeFoor; grandchildren; Ross Leth, Kenny DeFoor (Nichole), Arlyn Haycock, Blake DeFoor (Jennifer), Joel DeFoor, Larson Bennett (Max) and Claire DeFoor; and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by numerous nieces and Nephews.

The family will receive friends on January 9th from 4 PM to 7 PM at Thomas Funeral Home in Calhoun, GA.

Funeral services will be conducted on January 10th at 12:30 PM at the Calhoun Seventh Day Adventist Church in Calhoun, GA.

You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com.

Thomas Funeral Home oversees the arrangements for Mary Jo DeFoor, age 85 of Ooltewah, TN.

Fowler, Elven Lee

Elven Lee Fowler, 86, of Rome, GA died Friday, January 4, 2019 at her home. She was born in Waycross, GA on February 7, 1933, daughter of the late Alfred and Ida Sweat Gilliard. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Hoyt Fowler, in 1982; and her son, Ed Fowler.

Mrs. Fowler was retired from Trend Mills. She was a member of the Church of God of Prophecy in Shannon.

Survivors include her sons, Jim Fowler of Rome, Neal Fowler of Plainville, and Kenneth Fowler of Rome; her daughter, Janell Garland of Chipley, FL; grandchildren, Robbie Brumlow, James Fowler, Kristy Miller, Annette Fowler, and Tim Fowler; great-grandchildren, Cassie Miller, Anthony Carter, and Kayla Carter; brothers, J.R. Gilliard, E.S. Gilliard, Perdom Gilliard, Grover Gilliard, and Carswell Gilliard, all of Waycross; and sisters, Helen Cole of Villa Rica, and Pinky Lee of Waycross. A host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives also survive.

Services to honor the life of Elven Lee Fowler will be held Tuesday, January 8th at 3:00 PM from Plainville Church of God of Prophecy, with Rev. Ronnie Chandler and Rev. Leonard Crawford officiating. Burial will follow in Scott Cemetery. Pallbearers serving will include Roger Murray, Daniel Monteith, James Fowler, Robbie Brumlow, Rodney Fowler, and Dewey Percel.

The family will receive friends at Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home on Monday, January 7th from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM.

Condolences may be left at www.maxbrannonandsons.com. Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home of Calhoun.

Lewis, Myra Jean Towe

Myra Jean Towe Lewis, 80, of Calhoun, died Saturday, January 5, 2019 at her home, following an extended illness. She was born in Bartow County on July 11, 1938, daughter of the late Robert J. and Beulah Lucille Smith Towe. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Avery Lewis; a brother Daniel Towe; and a great-granddaughter, Anadia Fleetwood.

Survivors include her daughter, Donna Baker of Calhoun; her grandchildren, Mandy Baker and Benjamin Wesley, and Michael and Adrienne Morhain; her great-grandchildren, Jashain Nichols, Malik Nichols, Journey Edwards, and Dejunique Edwards; her great-great grandchildren, Jacobi Datis and Bentley Spears; her brother and sister-in-law, Wayne and Estelle Towe; and her sisters, Vivian Riggs and Elaine Huffman.

Honoring her wishes, her body was cremated and there will be no services.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home of Calhoun.  

McClain, Neatha Eara Smith

Mrs. Neatha Eara (Smith) McClain, age 68, of Dalton, passed away January 5, 2019, at Hamilton Medical Center.  She was born July 7, 1950, in Calhoun, GA and was a 1968 graduate of Calhoun High School. Her banking career began in Dalton and also when she relocated in Pikeville, KY. She was a member of Hall Memorial Baptist Church and also attended First Baptist Church in Pikeville. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dennis E. and Ida Parm Smith: four brothers Robert (Jimmie), Jimmy Lee (Dot), Clifford, Billy Mack: sister Wynette King (Harold). She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Robert Stephen, one son, and daughter in law, Matt and Savanna McClain of Dalton, one daughter Brittany McClain and special friend Jamie Davila, of Tunnel Hill. Sisters Mary Dell Waters of Calhoun, Ebbie Jane Defoor, and Patsy Ann Adams both of Calhoun and Linda Faye Potts of Sugar Valley. Grandchildren Hailey and Hannah Brown. Many nieces and nephews also survive. 

Services will be Wednesday 2 pm at the chapel of Shawn Chapman Funeral Home with Rev. Steve Nance officiating.  Interment will follow in the West Hill Cemetery.  The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday 12 noon till the funeral hour.

Arrangements made with integrity by Shawn Chapman Funeral Home, Crematory and Monuments.  www.shawnchapmanfh.com.

McElrath, Shauneka Dalet

MS. SHAUNEKA DALET McELRATH – Age 41, - Of Calhoun, Georgia passed away on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at the Gordon Hospital.  She graduated from Cherokee County High School. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Mary McElrath, grandparents, Mary Lena Barrington, C. B. Higginbotham, aunts and uncles.

She is survived by her sister, Chaka McElrath of Centre, Alabama; brothers, Nicoli McElrath of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jarrod Simpson of Calhoun, Georgia; aunts, Patricia Aker, Avi Nell Howell, Renea Moten, Lisa Barrington, Helen Ruth Walker; uncles, Jearl Higginbotham, Charles McElrath, Mac McElrath, Terry McElrath, Pete Chambers; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, special friend, Marshall Leek; other relatives, and friends.

Funeral Service will be held on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 1:00 P. M. at First Corinth Christian Church, 728 Court Street, Calhoun, Georgia with Pastor James Harris and other ministers officiating.  Her remains will lie in state at the funeral home on Sunday after 12:00 noon and the family will receive friends at the church one hour before the service.  Interment, Colbert Cemetery.  Please share your thoughts and memories of Ms. Shauneka Dalet McElrath at www.willisfuneralhomedalton.com.  Arrangements by Willis Funeral Home, Inc., Dalton, Georgia.

Smith, Arlene Velma

Arlene Velma Smith, 78, of Ranger, GA died Monday, January 7, 2019 at AdventHealth Gordon. She was born in Oregon on September 17, 1940.

Arlene was retired from the health care industry.

Local survivors include her son, Lee Montgomery; and grandson, Josh Montgomery.

Honoring her wishes, her body was cremated, and there will be no services.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home of Calhoun.

Thomas, Max Warner

Max Warner Thomas, age 98 of Calhoun, passed away on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at his residence.

Max was born on April 3, 1920 in Delta, OH to the late Noble Nathan Thomas and Bessie Doris Warner Thomas. In addition to his parents, Max was also preceded in death by a daughter, Carol L. Urbytes. Max was a veteran of the United States Army, serving his country during WWII. He saw service in the Asiatic Pacific Theater, Philippines and received the Bronze Star for Valor during the New Guinea Campaign. Staff Sergeant Thomas was in charge of an intelligence platoon, 125th Signal Service Company, when he received a battle field commission to Second Lieutenant and was discharged from service as a First Lieutenant.

Max is survived by: his wife, Teresa Maria Thomas; four daughters, Irma Christina Krusac and her husband Bela of Calhoun, Amy E. Zajac of San Diego, CA, Melissa M. Schmit and her husband Glenn of Adairsville, and Marcianna B. Fournier of Claremont, CA; eleven grandchildren; and eleven great-grandchildren.

Funeral Services will be conducted on Thursday, January 10th at 11 AM at the Calhoun First Presbyterian Church with Dr. David McDonald and Dr. Bob Butler officiating. Interment will follow in the Georgia National Cemetery with full military honors.

Pallbearers serving include: Mitch Urbytes, Darrin Urbytes, Ryan Krusac, Trent Urbytes, Damon Keys, and Jake Kelsoe.

Honorary Pallbearers include: Corporal Matt Schmit USMC, Sabina Zajac, Sara Keys, Teresa Waller, Elizabeth Kelsoe, Lilianna Fournier, and Chloe Fournier.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 5 PM until 8 PM at Thomas Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in memory of Max may be made to the Calhoun First Presbyterian Church at 829 Red Bud Road, NE, Calhoun, GA 30701.

You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com.

Thomas Funeral Home is incharge of the arrangements for Max Warner Thomas, age 98 of Calhoun.

Van Dyke, Ellen Louise

Ellen Louise Van Dyke, age 83 of Sugar Valley, passed away on Monday, January 7, 2019 at her residence, having fought a long battle with cancer and Alzheimer's.

Ellen was born on December 22, 1935 in Resaca, GA. She was preceded in death by: her husband, Charles William Van Dyke; son, Anthony Van Dyke; and grandchild, Cameron Van Dyke. Prior to her retirement, Ellen was employed by Wal-Mart.

Ellen is survived by: three sons, Randy Van Dyke and his wife Mary Ann of Jacksonville, FL, Tim Van Dyke and his wife Tonia of Sugar Valley, and Keith Van Dyke and his wife Charmon of Sugar Valley; daughter-in-law, Donna Van Dyke of Sugar Valley; two brothers, Arthur Kirby and Jack Kirby; seven grandchildren, Brian Van Dyke, Stephanie Causby and her husband Dustin, Candice White and her husband Josh, Mark Van Dyke, Renia Van Dyke (Blake Hall), and Timothy Van Dyke; and twelve great-grandchildren, Joey Van Dyke, Elle Causby, Macee Clark, Madison Van Dyke, Owen Van Dyke, Cameron Causby, Turner Causby, Harlan White, Shelania Hall, Sailor Van Dyke, Kora White, and Tilleean Hall.

Funeral Services will be conducted on Wednesday, January 9th at 1 PM from the Chapel of Thomas Funeral Home with Reverend Bobby Rogers officiating. Interment will follow in Fain Cemetery.

Pallbearers serving are: Mike Reece, Rick Silvers, Allen Bridwell, William Bridwell, and Bobby Banks.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday evening from 5 PM until 8 PM at Thomas Funeral Home.

You may leave the family online condolences at www.thomasfuneralhomecalhoun.com.

Thomas Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Ellen Louise Van Dyke, age 83 of Sugar Valley.

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