Gone but not forgotten

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Last week, Fayette County lost two prominent people that many of the county’s newest residents may not have known.

Connie Hale, who served on the Fayette County Board of Education for eight years, was a gracious woman from England, and a strong advocate for keeping Fayette County schools near the top of the state’s rankings. She could be passionate about what she thought needed to be done, but always had a great smile and a wonderful British sense of humor.

The other legend that left us last week was Ollie Peacock. For years, Ollie wrote a column for the newspaper. When I first started in the newspaper business in the the late 1980s in Fayette, I was assigned the task of editing and typesetting her column.

This was back in the day when MacIntosh computers were making their way into newsrooms across America, but Ollie preferred to compose her column with pen and paper. Somedays, it would be a challenge to interpret her distinctive script, but I took extra time, because I knew her column was one of the most popular reads in the paper.

In today’s newspaper jargon, writers are urged to be “hyper-local” in their coverage of events. Well, Ollie may have been the forerunner of that movement, because if you wanted to know who was visiting from out of town or eating at Frady’s over the weekend, Ollie provided you with the information.

If you travelled through Georgia in the early 90s and picked up a local paper, chances are you would find a similar column to Ollie’s announcing who had come to the church’s homecoming that Sunday, or who was in the hospital.

But there was also another side to Ollie. In her column, she often referenced her husband Bob. Bob started M.A. Industries in 1969 in Peachtree City’s industrial park. It was one of the first big companies in the city and helped kick off one of the most successful industrial areas south of Atlanta.

When Bob died in 2011, Ollie acquired the company at the ripe age of 86. The Peacocks played a huge role in making Peachtree City the huge success of a work and live community that it is today.

Each week, we list several residents who have died and may have lived here all their life, or just recently moved to the area. They may not be as prominent as the two who left us last week, but everyone is this community makes a contribution to the social fabric.

As local governments struggle to accommodate millennials into this fabric, let’s also not forget the contributions of those who helped create and govern this county years ago.

As writer George Santayana noted, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

[John Thompson has reported news in Fayette, Coweta and metro Atlanta counties since the late 1980s.]