Lawton ‘Gene’ Mattox
Lawton Eugene “Gene” Mattox, 81, of Blackshear, passed away Thursday evening (Sept. 19, 2019) at Baptist Village Nursing Home following a lengthy illness.
Born in Blackshear, July 12, 1938, he lived in Pierce County most of his life. He was a 1956 graduate of Blackshear High School and was a U.S. Army veteran. He worked for Container Corporation in Fernandina Beach, Fla., for five years before moving back to Pierce County and the family home place.
He worked for International Tractor as a mechanic before going to work for Clough-Pearson Funeral Home (later Pearson-Treadwell Funeral Home). It was while working at the funeral home that he decided to venture out into the vault and monument business by starting Gene Mattox Vault and Monument Company. He ran the company with his “main helper,” Jim Hunter. Ironically, Jim passed away less than 11 hours after Gene. The two also kept up the Blackshear City Cemetery for years along with Mr. Mattox’s wife, Deasy.
Many will remember the days when he sang in different quartets and singing groups like The Journerymen and The Soul Winners. He traveled all over the country over the years singing and recording music.
On Sept. 15, 2008, The Journeymen were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. On Sept. 22, 2008 the group received a Resolution from Rep. Mark Williams, District 178 of the Georgia House of Representatives acknowledging their work and dedication to sharing gospel music. His love of music was carried on through his dedication to his church and church choir where he served as the choir director for 40 years. He also served as a deacon and was in the men’s Sunday School Class.
In his spare time he could be found in his woodshop working on a project for someone or just building what he wanted. He always had a smile on his face, even while his health was beginning to fail. His love of family, friends, gospel music and a good joke or laugh will never be forgotten and neither will he.
He was the only son of Lawton Mayfield and WanL Johnson Mattox. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Lawanna Sweat and Oveida Bolden, and two brothers-in-law, Simon Sweat and John Stovall.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Deasy Dixon Mattox, of Blackshear; his daughter, Jeanie Johnson, of Crestview, Fla.; his son, Andy Mattox, of Blackshear; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Martha and Larry Fowler, of Loganville, and Mary Ann Stovall, of Waycross; five grandchildren, Noah and Ali Jordan, Elijah Mattox, Saralyn Mattox, Jaden Johnson and Levi Mattox; two great-grandchildren, Mason Jordan and Maggie Jordan; and several nieces, nephews and other relatives.
The funeral will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock at Beulah Baptist Church.
Interment will be in the Beulah Cemetery.
Visitation will be held this evening from 6 until 8 at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Beulah Baptist Church, 3343 Beulah Church Road, Alma, Ga. 31510.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online register at www.pearsondial.com
Pearson-Dial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

William P. Gray Sr.
William Preston “Bill” Gray Sr., 88, also affectionately known as “Ned,” died Thursday (Sept. 5, 2019) at St. Vincent Medical Center Riverside in Jacksonville, Fla., following an extended illness.
He was a native of Screven, the son of the late Alfred Gray and Maggie Manor Gray. He was also preceded in death by a son, Zoltan Anthony Gray, a sister, Elzena Williams, and two brothers, Lawton Gray and Lewis Gray.
He was raised in Wayne County and made his home in Waycross for the past 19 years. He attended Morris Brown College in Atlanta for a year before being drafted in the military.
Prior to moving to Waycross he had made his home in Silver Spring, Md. He was a member of Southside Baptist Church of Waycross, sang in the church choir and served on the church security team.
He was drafted into the United States Army in 1952 and served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He served as the first black Sports Director at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retired in 1974 at the rank of Sergeant 1st Class with a total of 21 years of faithful service.
He was an avid sportsman and participated in many sports including basketball, football and volleyball and was a referee of basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, handball and football.
He was inducted in the first class of the Wayne County County Sports Hall of Fame. While residing in Waycross, he had formerly worked with the Waycross-Ware County Recreation Department.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving and devoted wife of 54 years, Bertha Jones Gray, of Waycross; three daughters, Teresa Gray Jones (husband, David), of Roanoke, Va., Carmen Ayanna Gray (fiance, Marcus), of Washington, D.C., and Sonia Gill Clough (husband, Roland “Chip”), of Philadelphia, Pa.; four sons, Kenneth Alvin Gray (partner, Wondera), of San Antonio Texas, William Preston “Billy” Gray Jr (wife, Sharon), of Screven, Dearick Jon Gray (wife, Carrie), and Paul Diallo Gray, both of Waycross; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Violet Lavender, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Lula Wright, of Feeding Hills, Mass.; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Memorial donations may be made to Southside Baptist Church, 3439 Knight Ave., Waycross, Ga. 31503.
A funeral will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Southside Baptist Church. The family will receive family and friends from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the church.
Burial will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., with full military honors.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at www.musicfuneralhome.com
Music Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Jimmy L. Dixon
Dr. Jimmy L. Dixon died Tuesday (Sept. 17, 2019) at his home on St. Simon’s Island.
He was born Jan. 3, 1944 to the late Mattie and Hughie Dixon, in Waycross. He graduated from Ware County High School, Waycross, and Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tenn.
He received his degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia and completed his residency of General Surgery at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon. He completed a Fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Shands Teaching Hospital at the University of Florida and earned board certification in this specialty. He opened the practice of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Brunswick in 1975 where he practiced for approximately 30 years.
He is survived by his wife, Martha; and a sister, Marilyn Thornhill, of Waycross; and many nieces and nephews.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to Southeast Georgia Health System or the charity of one’s choice.
Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.

Prater ‘Butch’ Shugart
Prater Mitchell “Butch” Shugart, 79, passed away Thursday morning (Sept. 19, 2019) following an extended illness.
He was born in Dublin, Texas, but resided most of his life in Waycross. He was a code inspector for City of Waycross and the City of Douglas for several years. He retired as a fire marshall with the State of Georgia. He was a member of Crossview Church of God of Prophecy and enjoyed playing softball with many different leagues in the area.
He was a son of the late Trenton Lamar Shugart and Ferol Mae McKinney Shugart. He was married to the late Carolyn Joiner Shugart and was also preceded in death by a daughter, Tammy Ketchem, a grandson, Jason Ketchem, and a brother, Billy Shugart.
He is survived by two daughters, Tina Kerr (William), of Jacksonville, Fla., and Terri Fletcher, of Waycross; a son, Zakary Austin Shugart; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; two sisters, Faye Mote and Bonnie Alewine, both of Dublin, Texas; and a half brother, Danny.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Crossview Church of God of Prophecy. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Monday afternoon at the church at beginning at 1 o’clock.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at www.musicfuneralhome.com
Music Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Robert ‘Bob’ Wylie
Robert William “Bob” Wylie, 78, passed away suddenly Thursday (Sept. 19, 2019) in Waycross.
He was born in Philadelphia, Pa., but lived many places during his military career before moving to Waycross in 1971. He was retired from the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard. He also retired from CSX Railroad and was a member of the First Church of the Nazarene in Waycross.
He was a son of the late Samuel James Wylie and Margaret Milloy Wylie. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Robin DeAnn Wylie.
He is survived by his wife, Carol Judith Wylie, of Waycross; a daughter, Elizabeth Haywood, of Kansas City, Mo.; a son, Robert Dean Wylie (husband, James Kevin Wiehrs), of Savannah; two sisters, Peggy Wylie and Dawn Brown, both of Arab, Ala.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held 11 a.m. Monday at the First Church of the Nazarene. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Sunday evening at Music Funeral Home from 5 until 7 o’clock.
The family requests members of the Adult Sunday School Class at the First Church of the Nazarene meet at the church Monday by 10:40 a.m. to serve as honorary pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made in his honor to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 15829, Arlington, Va. 22215 or logging on to www.diabetes.org
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at www.musicfuneralhome.com
Music Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

James Porter Hunter
BLACKSHEAR — James Porter “Jim” Hunter, 91, of Blackshear, passed away early Friday morning (Sept. 20, 2019) at Harborview — Pierce County.
Born in Hoboken, Oct. 19, 1927, he lived in Pierce County most of his life. He worked for Thomas Feed for several years before going to work for Clough-Pearson Funeral Home (Pearson, and Pearson-Treadwell Funeral Home) where he worked for more than 25 years.
He then went to work with Gene Mattox at Gene Mattox Vault and Monument Co. They would also take care of keeping the Blackshear City Cemetery.
These two had a close friendship over the years — so close that Mr. Hunter would pass away less than 11 hours after Mr. Mattox.
He also served as coroner of Pierce County for 16 years. He loved to fish and enjoyed working in his yards. He was a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
He was a son of the late Mack Porter and Agnes Youmans Hunter. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Edith Moody Hunter, a daughter, Shirley Clark, a son, Frank Dixon, two sisters, Winnie Oliver and Maryann Brannon, and his brother, Rob Hunter.
Survivors include his son and caretaker, Billy Dixon, of Blackshear; his daughter and son-in-law, B.J. and Mike Thomas, of Spartanburg, S.C.; two sisters, Dorothy Thrift, of Waycross, and Elizabeth “Snookie” Ervin, of Ivey, S.C.; 10 grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews and other relatives.
The funeral will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the Pearson- Dial Chapel.
Interment will be in the Blackshear Cemetery.
Visitation will be held at the funeral home chapel one hour prior to the service.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online register at www.pearsondial.com
Pearson-Dial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Joel H. ‘Buck’ Smith
A funeral for Joel H. “Buck” Smith was held Friday morning at Music Fuenral Home Chapel with the Rev. Ben Smith officiating.
Burial followed in Greenlawn Cemetery.
Pallbearers were David Bennett Jr., Jordan Dixon, Scott Dixon and Neal Smith.
Military Rites were given by a contingent of the United States Army.
Music Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.