George F. Ratliff Jr.
JESUP — George Floyd Ratliff Jr., 91, of Jesup and Blackshear, died Wednesday (Feb. 25, 2015) after an extended illness.
The Illinois native lived in Wayne County most of his adult life and was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and more recently was a member of the Enriched Sunday School Class of First Baptist Church in Blackshear.
He was a U.S. World War II veteran, having served in the Third Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre. He also was a member and former commander of the VFW Post 4583, the Alee Temple Shrine and Solomon’s Lodge of Savannah. He was a self-employed retired business man specializing in asphalt paving and septic tank installation and was most known in South Georgia as the dancing instructor specializing in the “Shag.”
He and his current wife built “Dancing in the Pines” Dance Studio where he enjoyed teaching and celebrating retirement. He was honored with a lifetime membership in the Golden Isles Shag Club.
He lived a childhood of which movies are made and of which boys dream, being a descendent of proud Gypsies with their colorful lives and heritage. He said his ancestors came to America from England. His grandfather, Ben Smith, was born in Liverpool, England, being part Welsh and part English and came to America when he was just 3 years old.
Basically, he was a Romny, (Romnies), their origin being Indian or Shi Lanka.
He lived lovingly with his parents and grandparents and many other relatives in comfortable, travelable tents, living in most of the United States. He always spoke fondly of his people in the carnivals and how they loved and respected one another. His colorful heritage, perhaps gave him his great love for music and dance. He always said the carnivals were his playground and living among his relatives, sharing cheerful music by camp fires, always glowed in his memories.
His wife, Nickie Carswell Carter, a South Georgia columnist and writer, honored him by writing his biography titled, “George, My Favorite Gypsy.” His colorful heritage saw him living in canvas tents, among many relatives and living the changes from wagon/horse/tent era to cars pulling luggage trailers and living in more than 26 cities.
Many times he could recall memorable events as a boy in cities from Maine to Oregon and Washington State. (Prior to tent living, his people, before he was born, lived in horse-drawn wagons.)
He often said that he felt that his love for life was fueled by the sadness and tragedies he had endured, bringing to mind the untimely deaths of his two sons and their mother. Many times, he was heard to comment, “I tried to live my life each day to the fullest and to hear God’s call and do His will until one day I join my beloved ones.”
One of his favorite sayings was this quote by famous Benjamin Franklin in his speech to the Constitutional Convention, “I have lived a long life, sir and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, ‘that God governs in the affairs of men’.”
He was predeceased by his first wife, Relly Harrison Ratliff, and two sons, George Floyd Ratliff III and Benny Russell Ratliff.
Survivors are his wife, Andrea “Nickie” Carter Ratliff, of Blackshear; a daughter and son-in-law, Jeanette and Jerry Edwards, of Homerville; a daughter-in-law, Jeannette Ratliff Fillmore (husband, Roger), of Jesup; grandchildren, Leah and Kenny Woods, of Rincon, Jeremy and Kalita Edwards, of Homerville, Jarrett Edwards, of Statesboro, Daniel Ratliff, of Hoboken, Daryl Ratliff, of Nahunta, Amber and Wesley Mincey, of Claxton, Ben Ratliff, of Jesup; nine great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; four step-children, McCoy Carter Jr., of Jacksonville, Fla., Andrea Deloach, of Blackshear, Kim Winokur, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Roman and Serenity Carter, of Blackshear.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 this evening at Rinehart and Sons Chapel.
A graveside funeral will be held in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Charlotte, N.C., with military honors.
Sympathy may be expressed at www.rinehartandsons.com
Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home, of Jesup, is serving the family.

Sandra Gail Howard
Sandra Gail Howard, 56, died Wednesday morning (Feb. 25, 2015) at Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross following a sudden illness.
She was a native and life-long resident of Ware County except for making her home in Pierce County for the past two years. She was preceded in death by her father, Cedric Marvin Howard Sr., maternal grandparents, Benjamin Matthew and Leona Dubberly James, and her paternal grandparents, Jasper C. and Josephine Allen Howard.
She attended Second Baptist Church and was of the Pentecostal faith during childhood years. She was a 1976 graduate of Waycross High School. She was formerly the owner and operator of Satilla Carpet Outlet.
During her high school years she worked with the Sports Shop, and later worked in the office of Ware County High School, the Gift Shop of the Okefenokee Swamp Park and the office of Independent Life Insurance Company.
She loved all of her family especially her four grandchildren and all of her nieces and nephews, and will always be remembered as a loving person that never met a stranger.
Survivors include a son, Jason Carroll Thrift (April), of Waycross; a daughter, Elizabeth Margie Paradise (Tommy), of Waycross; four grandchildren, Jason Grant Thrift, Conner Edwin Thrift, James Brock Payne and Cliatt Thomas Paradise; her mother, Mildred James Howard, of Waycross; two brothers, Benjamin Keith Howard Sr. (Terri), of Blackshear, and Cedric Marvin “Ricky” Howard Jr. (Maggie), of Waycross; her special pet dog, Josie; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Second Baptist Church with burial to follow in the Oakland Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. Friday at Music Funeral Home.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at www.musicfuneralhome.com
Music Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Omerlee W. Griffin
Charlotte “Omerlee” Wilson Griffin, 72, of Nahunta, passed away Tuesday evening (Feb. 24, 2015) at Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick following an extended illness.
Born in Nahunta, she was the daughter of the late Omie Wilson and Christine Herrin Wilson, of Nahunta. Along with her father, she was preceded in death by two sons, Bernard Willis and Kendall Willis, and a sister, Patricia Crews.
She was employed with the State of Georgia as a human resources associate for many years. She was of the Baptist faith, and enjoyed gardening, cooking, designing, decorating and taking care of her grandchildren.
Survivors include her husband of 32 years, Coleman Griffin, of Nahunta; daughter and son-in-law, Frances Chesser (Wade), of Nahunta; two step-daughters and sons-in-law, Phyllis Carla Link (Oz), of Warner Robins, and Nataliee Alexander, of Woodstock; a special daughter-in-law, Jennifer Willis; eight grandchildren, Christopher Willis, of Nahunta, Karley Willis, of Hoboken, Kaley Chesser, Garrett Chesser and Evie Chesser, all of Nahunta, Christian Link, of Germany, Will Alexander, of Valdosta, and Sydney Alexander, of Woodstock; two great-grandchildren, Aiden Robinson and Kennon Dowling; her mother, Christine Herrin Wilson, of Nahunta; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Renade Wilson (Debbie) and Vance Wilson (Mary Jo), all of Nahunta; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Dale Wilson and Hatti Allen (Robert), both of Nahunta; several nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Visitation will be held this evening starting at 6 o’clock at Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
A funeral will be held Friday morning at 11 at Frye Funeral Home in Nahunta with the Rev. Leon Wilson and the Rev. Hilton Morgan officiating.
Burial will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Tony Crews, Tanner Wilson, Jordan Wilson, Jimmy Lee, Tommy Lee and Christian Link.
Family and pallbearers are asked to meet at the funeral home Friday by 10:30 a.m.
Arrangements are with Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at fryefh.com

Geneva S. Prescott
Mary Geneva Steedley Prescott, 76, of Folkston, passed away Tuesday (Feb. 24, 2015) at her daughter’s residence following an extended illness.
Born in Nahunta, she was the daughter of George R. Steedley and Solena Harris Steedley. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Benjamin “B.M” Prescott Jr.
She worked as a paraprofessional for The Brantley County School System. She was a member of Hickox Baptist Church, and enjoyed fishing, hunting, reading, gardening, loved spending time with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Survivors include three daughters and sons-in-law, Teresa Mitchell (David “Mitch”), of Waycross, Karen Lee (Terry), of Folkston, and Trudy Prescott (Clayton Johnson), of Waynesville; seven grandchildren, Brandi Lee, of Folkston, Melissa Lee, of Perry, Brittany Jackson (Johnathon), of Virginia, Ben Mitchell (Michelle), of Valdosta, Seth Prescott (Brittany), of Waycross, Sara Mitchell, of Waycross, Sam Prescott (Maggie), of Hoboken; three great-grandchildren, Emmalee Jackson, Taryn Jackson and Lee Prescott; one brother and sister-in-law, George Ernest “Buddy” Steedley (Brenda), of Nahunta; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Carolyn Prescott (Jack), of Folkston, and Wanda Rowell (Billy), of Nahunta; several nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Visitation will be held this evening from 6 until 8 at Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
A funeral will be held Friday afternoon at 3 o’clock at Frye Funeral Home with Dr. W. Derrell Rentz and the Rev. Caleb Crews officiating.
Burial will follow in Corinth Cemetery in Charlton County.
Pallbearers will be Seth Prescott, Sam Prescott, Ben Mitchell, Johnathon Jackson, Dean Rowell and George Prescott.
Family and pallbearers are asked to meet by 2:30 p.m. Friday at Frye Funeral Home.
Arrangements are with Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at fryefh.com

Javona Rowell Yawn
Javona Ann Rowell Yawn, 52, of Waycross, passed away late Tuesday evening (Feb. 24, 2015) at Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross following a sudden illness.
Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Pearson-Dial Funeral Home, Inc., of Blackshear.

Richard C. Summerall
A funeral for Richard C. Summerall was held Wednesday morning at New Life Assembly of God with the Rev. Andrew F. Peacock Jr. officiating.
Burial followed in Kettle Creek Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Joe Boatright, Donnie Griffis, Mike Murray, Ronnie Smart, James Sullivan and John L. Wise.
Music Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

William L. Hendrix Sr.
A funeral for William “Bill” Lamar Hendrix Sr. was held Wednesday morning at Kettle Creek Church with the Rev. Danny Callahan and the Rev. Frank Hendrix officiating.
Burial followed in Kettle Creek Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Kenneth Carroll, Kenny Lee, Jeff Morgan, Scottie Petty, Foster Smith and Abe Tuten.
Music Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Clayton R. Bruce
BLACKSHEAR — The funeral for Clayton Ramsey Bruce, 79, was held Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock at First Baptist Church.
Officiating was Dr. Bill Young.
Entombment was held at 2 p.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery.
Honorary pallbearers were members of the Misfits Sunday School Class and members of the Blackshear Supper Club as well as several dear friends of Mr. Bruce.
Pearson-Dial Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.