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10.10.2012

Omaha Beach Veteran Joseph Lee Parker Jr. ‘38 Passes Away - Leaves Legacy of Serving Patients

I am saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dr. Joseph Lee Parker, Jr. He was a proud member of The University of Georgia family and the last surviving Navy doctor who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy during the D-Day invasion of World War II. His heroism continued after the War when he established his own practice in rural Greensboro, Georgia, serving patients 24 hours a day and later as the chief of staff of the Minnie G. Boswell Hospital. Dr. Parker will be dearly missed, but the legacy of his work serving others lives on. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Parker’s family during this time.

Below you will find Dr. Parker’s obituary as provided by the McCommons Funeral Home.

Dr. Parker of Greensboro, Georgia died on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at the age of 95 at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital. He was born November 20, 1916 in Waycross, Georgia, the son of the late Joseph Lee Parker, Sr. and Vera Estelle Sweat. He was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Waycross High School and The University of Georgia. While at The University of Georgia, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and lettered in swimming. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and married the late Martha Fleming of Augusta.

Dr. Parker served as a physician during World War II with the Navy and Marines. He was stationed in England and was part of the first wave of the Normandy Invasion during the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach with the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. He was the last surviving Navy surgeon of that invasion. He attended the wounded—both Allied and German—for twenty-one days on the beach. He received numerous awards and decorations from both the United States government and the Republic of France. Later, he served with the Marines in China and Guam.

After his military service, he established a medical practice in Greensboro, Georgia where he provided professional health care to the people of Greene and surrounding counties. In a rural practice with no hospital, 24-hour, 7-day a week house calls were an everyday event for Dr. Parker. He knew every country dirt road like the back of his hand. He was one of the founding physicians of the Minnie G. Boswell Hospital in 1949. He served as chief of staff for the hospital for twenty-five years until his retirement. Beloved and esteemed by all who had the privilege of knowing him, he was a hero to his community.

Dr. Parker married Carolyn Baugh Reynolds in 1987, and after his retirement they traveled all over the world. He also enjoyed spending time at his house on the Georgia coast as he loved being near the water. He built his first sailboat in St. Simons at the age of 14. He spent the last twenty-five years of his life on Lake Oconee.

Lee was a member of the Greensboro First Baptist Church and attended the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. He was a 60-year member of the Masons, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion.

In addition to his wife, Carolyn Reynolds Parker, he is survived by a daughter, Jane Parker '43 and a son, Joseph Lee Parker III, grandchildren, Mandy Parker and Robert Snider; Rynee and Michael Strickland; Allison and Dusty Laux; and Joely and Matt Nicholson, Great-grandchildren Hayden and Conner Strickland; Jonah and Sam Laux; and Parker and Tessa Nicholson. He was preceded in death by his brother Jack Parker and Anna Parker, and his sister Vera Parker and Cleve Mincey and a grandson Lee Whichard.

Extended family members are Frances and Gentry Strickland, Jamie and Kathy Reynolds, Marguerite and the late Troy McInteer, Harold and Lesley Reynolds, Beth and Bobby Thomas, Jim and Ellen Strickland, Bill and Tabi Strickland, Jamie Reynolds IV, Chandler Reynolds, Jackson Reynolds, Will and Jack Thomas, Carolyn, Mary Cate, Davis and Amanda Strickland, and Ella and Hal Strickland.

Funeral services were held Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the McCommons Funeral Chapel with Dr. David Key and The Reverend Joseph D. Greene III officiating. Interment with military honors followed in the Greenview Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers were Johnny Hester, Mike Bradley, Billy Jarrard, Herbie Thurmond, Chris Houston, Dr. Dave Ringer, Carey Williams, Jr. and Richard Maddux.

The family requests that any memorials be made to the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit of Augusta VA, c/o Reynolds Veterans Association, Inc., 6350 Lake Oconee Parkway, Suite 102, PMB 163, Greensboro, GA 30642. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements.

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04.23.2014

Alumna puts passion for historic preservation into action

Catherine Garner (MHP ’13) has a passion for preserving the historic buildings of Salisbury, NC. After finishing her undergraduate degree in geography and urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Garner interned with preservation planners in Winston-Salem. Fulfilled by the work, she chose to pursue the path of historic preservation, eventually earning her master's degree from UGA in preservation planning.

Since then, Garner has landed her dream job as Salisbury’s newest city planner and liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Commission. In this position, she help develop communities in which people want to live. She is involved in the city’s new "one-stop shop" for development services. The innovative program encourages local business owners to obtain city permits and a business license under the same roof. By streamlining the process, more local businesses will be involved in the city planning process.

Congratulations, Catherine! It’s great to see an alumna making a difference in her community. The work you do will impact Salisbury for generations to come.

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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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