Gloria Carswell James
Gloria Carswell James, 75, “fought the good earthly fight and kept the faith,’’ but she was called home to her God Friday (Sept. 21, 2018) morning, her spirit leaving this earth, away like the colorful birds she loved.
Born in Waycross Jan. 27. 1943, in Waycross, Mrs. James overcame many health issues from cancer to numerous surgeries, finding strength and courage with her Faith in God, but realizing that her time had come to join her parents, Wynelle Lance Carswell and Roscoe Nickels Carswell, and other loved ones in Heaven.
A celebration of life honoring the former Ware Countian and long-time Pierce Countian, will be held for friends and family Wednesday at 11 a.m. at her home, 6831 Hacklebarney Community, Pierce County.
She was born and reared in Waycross, loving the Elizabeth Street, Williams Street and Magnolia Drive neighborhoods. During her Waycross High School years, she was known as a talented basketball player; “the one with the pretty legs.’’ She was a supportive and enthusiastic “friend to all.’’
A 1961 high school graduate, following her high school years, she became the 18-year-old bride of Pierce Countian William Tracy (Billy) James (now deceased). In his lifetime he was a farmer and member of a well-known family of the county and city. At her marriage, she moved to Pierce County where she remained for the rest of her life, later years in Hacklebarney Community. She and her husband were blessed with three sons: William Tracy (Will) James Jr. of Blackshear, twins Rodney Nickels James of Pierce County and John Allen James of Pierce County.
Mrs. James embraced her mother/homemaking duties as a “chosen chore of love,’’ as her many friends will recall, she “kept an immaculate home and trained her cherished sons ‘in the way they should go,’ God’s way.’’ Sometimes in the ’60s, she helped her husband with the farming operations including chicken houses and put the vegetables he grew in her freezer, for those frequent dinners she cooked for family and friends. “She was a great cook and loved watching the cooking shows on television. She could have been on those shows with her chicken and dumplings and moist cakes and cookies!’’
A South Georgia woman of many roles, Mrs. James “had a heart for God,’’ and many family photos show her with her three sons, all dressed to worship their God at Blackshear First United Methodist Church. Later in life, she joined Blackshear First Baptist Church, enjoying studying the word of God and the fellowship of many church friends. She was a member of the Followers Sunday School Class for many years, prior to her health issues. Fellowships with the JOY Group and the Widows’ Luncheons at her church added to her “golden years.’’
Described as “an excellent nurse and one who cared for the health of children and their families,’’ Mrs. James, after her marriage, embraced more education and studied at Waycross-Ware Technical School, receiving her licensed practical nurses diploma in 1965. She worked at the former Pierce County Hospital, Blackshear and at the Atkinson County Health Department in Pearson, as well as did private duty nursing which she “loved.’’ She retired from Pierce County Health Department but continued to keep her nursing license valid. Many mothers recall with satisfaction how “Miss Gloria’’ gave the perfect shot to their children and was responsible for a caring/supporting health experience.
Family members were “amazed’’ at her stamina balancing her studies, three young sons, keeping an immaculate home and later her work years. She always “praised her three sons’’ who studied in Pierce County schools, then became successful in their chosen professions, following obtaining college degrees. She was one of those mothers who “thought only of her sons’ well being and education, many times sacrificing needed things for herself,’’ according to her family.
Work and family time for the well-known Pierce Countian were interspersed with many “happy times,’’ as the family enjoyed the James cottage at Dover’s Bluff, Fernandina Beach visits with her sister and husband Wynn Carswell Plowden and John B. Plowden. She was commended for sharing her life — in her married years — with her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Maggie and Quitman James, caring for them in their later years prior to their deaths.
Mrs. James as a young mother found time to share with many friends, playing bridge. Her sons recall “Aunt MeNet, Jeanette,’’ “Aunt Ann,’’ “Miss Janice,’’ “Miss Carolyn’’ and other friends who shared babysitting hours during their children’s growing-up years. In her later years, she enjoyed traveling to interesting states like Montana with its deep snow and the New England states with their autumn magnificence. She was fond of the “golf club greens,’’ being a member of the Lakeview Ladies Golf Association. Friend Jeanette Dixon, recalling happy times, remembers that she and “Gloria took pro golf lessons in Waycross.’’
She was the number one cheerleader for her talented sister/vocalist Wynn Carswell Plowden (Miss Georgia Pageant first and second honors) and attended most of her singing engagements in various states as Wynn’s husband worked in several states in his space (shuttle) company accomplishments.
Her devotion to her Pierce County community continued when she was a dedicated member of the child abuse prevention chapter, Okefenokee Alliance for Kids. For the main project, “Quick Think,’’ she was the favorite mascot, the Foozer, encouraging second graders in the three Pierce County elementary schools, “to think quick regarding their safety.’’
Prior to her health career retirement, she built the home of her dreams in Hacklebarney Community, Pierce County, after being welcomed by her sister and the Carter family to their farm. These years she saw peace, happiness and contentment as she loved having her children and grandchildren “in for pizza, cookies and cake,’’ and found joy in sitting on her front porch overlooking Sweetwater Branch.
Many was the afternoon that she and her sister, Nickie Carswell Carter, sat on the porch in rocking chairs, chatting, reminiscing and admiring the beauty of God’s creation, especially the trees she planted in her yard. She loved the birds, feeding them in ornate feeders and made sure her Hacklebarney maple and Bradford pear trees she planted in her yard grew tall and beautiful, especially in autumn with the hues of gold and bronze. She loved animals, and during her sons’ growing-up years they welcomed many pet dogs to their home.
“She looked well to her household,’’ family and friends would say of “Miss Gloria.’’ She decorated her rooms in excellent taste and at one time knitted afghans for all of her sons and their families. Even when confined to a wheelchair, that didn’t keep her from standing at her stove and baking that special treat or frying her favorite french fries. Once she captured the hobby of baking breads, sharing them with family and friends. She found joy in the sunrises and sunsets seen over the branch and fields, attention to her God in whom she believed.
Leaving to cherish her memory are her three sons and their families: William Tracy (Will) James Jr. of Blackshear, (his pet dog “Nellie,’’ named for his mother); Rodney and Dana (Kicklighter) James, Emmett James and JoHannah James of Pierce County and John and Holly (Walsh) James, John Benjamin James of Pierce County and Logan and Micah Larson of Midway City, Okla; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Nickie Carswell Carter of Hacklebarney Community, Wynn Carswell Plowden and husband John B. Plowden of Fernandina Beach, Fla.; nieces and nephews, cousins and other relatives in this area as well as Homerville. She would want to recognize, Jammie Turner, Jennifer Wilson, Diana Ellis and a devoted friend “Cynthia Harris,’’ who attended to her needs, allowing her to live in her beloved Hacklebarney home as long as she could.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her older sister Rita Carswell Gray and her husband Thomas E. Gray Sr., of Jamestown, brothers-in-law, Henry McCoy Carter Sr. of Hacklebarney Community and George F. Ratliff Jr., of Hacklebarney, and her grandparents Winnie and M.W. Lance, of Waycross, and O’Vella Peagler Carswell and Allen Nickels Carswell, of Homerville. Through the years she remained in contact with members of her James family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the building fund of Blackshear First Baptist Church and to the charities of their choice. Mrs. James supported many children’s hospital and American Indian School efforts. She also took joy in subscribing for her great nieces, children’s magazines and always “at Christmastime,’’ gave with much love collectible coins to her grandchildren for their future collections.
Her sons and family members express deep appreciation to the Harborview Nursing Home staff, especially to RN/Weekend Anita Michaels, RN/Weekdays Sonja Woods, CNA Susan Bryson and CNA Zina Mitchell.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing online at
Miles-Odum Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Ruby ‘Kitty’ Smith
Ruby “Kitty” Smith, 90, of Waycross, died Friday evening at Waycross Health & Rehab after an extended illness.
She was born in Ware County to the late David James Smith and Thelma Lucinda Smith and had just recently moved back to Waycross after making Sandy Springs her home since 1951.
She was a retired manager for AT&T, a member of Crossview Church of God of Prophecy and former member of Mt. Paran Church of God in Atlanta where she was an exceptional choir member. She traveled on many mission trips to Israel, Ukraine and many other cities singing with the choir and inspiring the youth with her passion for music. On one mission trip she felt compelled to be baptized in the Jordan River.
She was a lady with many talents, one being she taught dance at Arthur Murray Studios in Atlanta, enjoyed playing golf and was part of a bridge team that was invited often to play in tournaments at the French Consulate in Atlanta. In 1996 she took it upon herself to volunteer to drive limousines for the Dignitaries during the Olympic games while they were held in Atlanta. She was a very intelligent lady who sold real-estate both nationally and internationally and held her brokers license.
In addition to her parents she is preceded in death by four siblings; Berniece Waters, Bobbie Farrior, Leonard J. Smith and William “Bill” Smith.
She is survived by six siblings, Margaret Clark, of Waycross, Eloise Bryant, of Waycross, Tommy Smith, of Waycross, Doyle Smith (wife, Kay), of Waycross, Linda Carroll (husband, Doug) of Waycross, Roger Smith (wife, Ann) of Jonesboro, numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
A funeral will be held today at 11 a.m. at Kettle Creek Congregational Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery.
Sympathy may be expressed at
Miles-Odum Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

N.D. ‘Knobby’ Bennett
N.D. “Knobby” Bennett, 89, died Friday afternoon (Sept. 21, 2018) at Baptist Village Retirement Communities following an extended illness.
He was born in the Beach Community of Ware County but had lived most of his life in Waycross. He was the husband of the late Betty Jo Dixon Bennett. He was also preceded in death by his parents Ezra Layton Bennett and Mamie Young Bennett.
He served with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict and retired in 1989 as a machinist with the CSX Railroad after 40 plus years of service. He was also a longtime welding instructor with Okefenokee Technical College, now Coastal Pines College Technical College. He was a member of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church.
Survivors include a daughter, Charlene Bennett-Hale (husband, Mike) of Hoboken, two sons, Danny R. Bennett (Tina Hodges) and Gregory J. Bennett (wife, Donna S.), both of Waycross, 11 grandchildren, Levon, Katie, Nick, Leslie, Nichole, Tiffany, Kyle, Drew, Tyler, Derek and Chris, 12 great-grandchildren, a brother, John Bennett (wife, Jane), of Brantley County, and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
In lieu of flowers the family request that memorials be made to Hospice Satilla, 808 Evergreen Way, Waycross, Ga. 31501.
A memorial service was held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Music Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Rodney Thrift, Gregory Bennett and Mike Hale officiating.
Sympathy can be expressed by signing the online registry at
Music Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Marilyn Bonacci
Marilyn Bonacci, 83, of Waycross, died late Friday night (Sept. 21, 2018) at Memorial Satilla Health after an extended illness.
She was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., to the late Hugh Cain and Mary Pasak Cain. She graduated from Turtle Creek High School in Pittsburgh in 1953. After high school she attended the Mason Felix Beauty Academy with a degree in cosmetology. She worked as a cosmetologist for many years before retiring and taking a job as a sales representative for Tenser-Phipps and Leaper Food Brokerage Firm.
She and her husband, Jerry, moved to Waycross in 1980 where she managed Kelly Services for many years before retiring for good. She enjoyed spending time playing bridge at the Okefenokee Golf and Country Club and was a former member of the Okefenokee Womens Golf Association. She was also very active with the Okefenokee Heritage Center and served as president of the OHC Art Guild.
She was an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waycross. She was preceded in death by her parents.
She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Jerry Bonacci, of Waycross; a sister, Ruth Mariani (husband, Henry), of Little Rock, Ark.; her nieces and nephews, Tim Mariani, of Little Rock, Ark., Anthony Mariani (wife, Julia), of Little Rock, Ark., Tina Halter (husband, Mark), of Little Rock, Ark., Tricia Hudson (husband, Jason), of Little Rock, Ark., Albert Simone (wife, Cheryl), of Pittsburgh, Pa., Robert Simone (wife, Rhonda), of Pittsburgh, Pa.; her god-children, Janine Valentino and Gregory Persio, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and numerous other relatives.
A Mass of the Resurrection to celebrate the life of Marilyn Bonacci will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church. A rosary service will be held Tuesday evening at 5:30 at Miles-Odum Funeral Home with a visitation following from 6 until 8.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 2011 Darling Ave., Waycross, Ga. 31501, or to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 840692, Dallas, Texas 75284-0692.
Sympathy may be expressed at
Miles-Odum Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Jeffrey Booth
HOBOKEN — Jeffrey Booth, 44, of Hoboken, passed away Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2018) in Fort Worth, Texas, after a sudden illness.
Born in Waycross, he was the son of Jack Booth and Melissa Lee Booth of Hoboken. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Abe and Luna Booth, and his maternal grandparents, Fred and Matilda Lee.
He worked for the United States Postal Service and attended High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church. He enjoyed gardening, landscaping and traveling. Jeffrey was a people person who loved helping others.
Survivors include his parents, Jack and Melissa Booth, of Hoboken, three brothers and sisters-in-law, Eddie and Dana Booth, of Gray, Stephen Booth, of Hoboken, and Gregory and Lynn Booth, of Macon, nieces and nephew, Brett, Ashlee and Carlee, and several aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives.
A funeral was scheduled this morning at 11 o’clock at High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church with Elder Daniel Drawdy, Elder Freddie Thomas and Elder Freddie Lee officiating. Burial will follow in High Bluff Cemetery.
Pallbearers are Greg Lee, Sidney Lee, Harold Driggers, Phillip Chancey, Brett Mitchell and Roger Crews.
Arrangements are with Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
The family is receiving friends at Jack and Melissa’s residence, 2118 Mt. Calvary Road, Hoboken.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at

Joyce Ann Smith
Joyce Ann Smith, 78, died Saturday (Sept. 22, 2018) at the Hospice House Satilla following an extended illness.
She was born in Morehead, Ky., but resided in Ware County for many years. She formerly worked at CSX Railroad.
She was a daughter of the late Shirley Earls and Mary Ruth Perkins Coppock. She was married to the late Joe Smith and also was preceded in death by a son, William Joseph Smith Sr., and grandson, William Joseph “B.J.” Smith.
She is survived by four daughters, Mary Ann Roberson (Jimmy), of Brunswick, Leila Elizabeth Jordan (Charles), of Waycross, Donna Lane (Perry), of Waycross, and Patty Gill (Ronnie), of Blackshear; a son, Craig Allen Smith (Inga), of Waycross; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; her companion of 23 years, Ricky Heath, of Hahira; and his four sons, Eddie Heath, Wayne Heath, Jimmy Heath, Tony Heath, and Alan Heath; a sister, Rose Kieser (Greg), of Troy, Ohio; a brother, Phillip Coppock, of Germany; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Music Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be held in Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Tuesday morning at the funeral home starting at 10 o’clock.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at
Music Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Styna R. Broadnax
Styna Rebecca Broadnax, born Dec. 14, 1925, peacefully transitioned to her heavenly home on Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2018).
She was born and reared in Blackshear and completed her academic requirements for graduation at Lee Street High School. She always was interested in learning new things. She studied to be a certified nursing assistant and ventured into learning to use a sewing machine. She had various employment opportunities but found herself opting to work and care for several Blackshear families throughout the years. She was forced to quit working at the tender age of 80.
At an early age, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior for a lifetime of service at Scott’s Chapel Untied Methodist Church. She loved her home church. She made the decision to stay involved in supporting the Church activities in any capacity.
She chaired one of several committees that encouraged ministry support. In her leisure time, she enjoyed life and participated in two community based social clubs. When it was her responsibility to host her friends, she went all out to make sure it was enjoyable time. She was an avid bargain shopper.
Throughout her stay in metro Atlanta with her children, she never complained about the health challenges she faced. She would sing many songs as she journeyed through life. Particularly, the song “I Won’t Complain” was a favorite, and “What the world needs now is love.” Her hope was that love would grow among her family and the world. She was a kind, gentle soul and will be truly missed by her family and all those she encountered. To God be the glory!
She was preceded in death by her parents, Andrew and Lillie Surrency, her three siblings, Mattie Kennedy, Henry and Harvey Surrency.
She married the late Welborn Broadnax and to that union six children were born. Priscilla (George) Wright, Decatur, Sheila Way, St. Marys, Myra Steede, Decatur, Cheryl Saunders, Stone Mountain, Dexter (Althea) Broadnax, Snellville, and Gail (Steve) Fuller, Blackshear.
Those also left to cherish her memory are 17 grandchildren, 27 great-grand-children and one great-great-grandchild, also nieces and nephews, cousins and sorrowing friends.
Visitation will be held from 6 until 8 this evening at the funeral home, 505 Ware St., Blackshear.
A celebration of life will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at Scott Chapel United Methodist Church, 420 Highway Ave., Blackshear.
The cortege will assemble at 10:30 a.m. at the Comfort Inn, 155 Main St., Blackshear
Interment will follow at Shiloh Cemetery, Moore Street, Blackshear.
Condolences may be expressed online at
Rainge Memorial Chapel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Johnnie B. Johnson
Johnnie B. Johnson, 90, of 2997 Albany Ave., Waycross, formerly of Patterson, passed away Monday evening (Sept. 17, 2018) at Memorial Satilla Health Waycross.
He was born Oct. 21, 1927 to the late Johnny Johnson and Qulla Mae William Johnson in Abbeville, Ala.
He attended school in Abbeville, Ala. He moved to Fitzgerald where he met and married Lillie Pearl Robinson. They became the proud parents of 11 children.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lillie Pearl Robinson Johnson, and a son, James Hall.
He leaves to cherish his memories six daughters, Willie Bell Allums (Jimmy), Lottie Washington, Lillie Q. Robinson, Nina Faye James (Ulysses), Mattie Pearl Calhoun (Jeffery) and Gail Mann (Warren), and four sons, Johnny B. Johnson Jr., Anthony Harold Johnson, Bobby G. Hall (Ruby) and Jessie Lee Robinson.
A visitation was held Saturday at the funeral home from 6 until 7:30 p.m.
A homegoing celebration in loving memory of Johnnie Bennett Johnson was held Sunday at River of Life Church of God. 1439 Brunel St., Waycross, where Bishop Woodrow Jarrett is pastor.
Bishop Michael Sapwell delivered words of comfort “Get in Touch with Jesus for Yourself.”
Pastor Morris Pate of Ft. Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church read the Old Testament from Isaiah 43. Dr. Keith Johnson read the New Testament from II Timothy 4: 1-8.
Pallbearers were his grandsons, Nakia Johnson, Michael Robinson, Myron Robinson, Ulysses Johnson, Johnathan Moody, Anthony Johnson and Scanton Johnson.
Interment followed in the Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery in Fitzgerald.
Condolences may still be expressed online at
Rainge Memorial Chapel Funeral Home was in charge of services.

Elijah L. Howard III
Elijah Lloyd Howard III, 61, died Sunday night (Sept. 23, 2018) at his residence after an illness.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later by Fluker Funeral Home.

Gerald W. Gardner
PATTERSON — The funeral for Gerald Warren Gardner, 65, was held Saturday morning at 11 o’clock at Patterson Baptist Church.
Officiating were the Rev. R.C. James and Dwain Pippin. Also speaking was Tyler Harrelson.
Interment was in the Waters Cemetery.
Active pallbearers were Jami Johnson, Jeffrey Bolden, Dwain Pippin, Stephen Youmans, Vince Elliott and Jimmy McCullough.
Honorary pallbearers were members of the Faithful Followers Sunday school class along with members of the Turning Point Support Group.
Pearson-Dial Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Helen Crews Raulerson
A funeral for Helen Crews Bell Raulerson took place Sunday afternoon in the Music Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Ben Smith and Dr. George Thomas officiating.
Burial was in Hoboken City Cemetery.
Serving as active pallbearers were Jamey Tucker, Hank Tucker, A.C. Paulk, David Calbert, Chance Chaney and Doug Quick.
Honorary pallbearers were Terry Crosby, Jack Anderson, Sheriff Randy Royal, Chris Davis, Kenny Davis and Stacy Tyre.

Cord Reed Basile
A graveside service for Cord Reed Basile took place Saturday morning at High Bluff Cemetery with the Rev. Tim King officiating.
Serving as pallbearers were Tony O’Neal, Romie Dowling, Ricky Crews, Ray Milton, Timmy Jones and Nick Wiley.
Arrangements were with Music Funeral Home.