The area has lost two outstanding public servants in the recent deaths of J.J. "Juddy" Rabun, of Wrens, and Edgar "Ed" Clary III, of Evans.
Mr. Rabun, the former longtime mayor of Wrens, was 85. Mr. Clary, who had served on Harlem City Council, was mayor there and later served two terms as a member of the Columbia County Board of Education. He was 68.
I had the pleasure of knowing both of these fine men for many years. I used to see them weekly in their roles as elected officials. I can truthfully say that both of these men were not only dedicated to the people they served, but they were committed to finding solutions to problems, too. Such loyalty, dedication and commitment are what I always admired most about them.
Both were easy to interview about news stories. Neither of them ever ducked hard-line questions that I had to ask them from time to time as a newspaper reporter. I sincerely appreciated that, too.
Both men were similar in many ways, because both had great character. They also were Godly men. They prayed and served the Lord to the best of their abilities. Both were most honorable men in whatever they were involved in doing.
Mr. Rabun and Mr. Clary worked countless hours for the people they served. They truly wanted to make a difference. And they did.
Unlike some elected officials, these two gentlemen didn't just serve for the prestige of the offices they held. Instead, they sought elected office to make changes -- positive ones.
Mr. Rabun always wanted what was best for the residents of Wrens. One of those residents just happened to have been my grandmother, the late Alma L. Hobbs, whom, we grandchildren dubbed "Nanny."
My grandmother always thought a lot of Mr. Rabun, too.
He had a great vision for North Jefferson County -- one that would make that part of the county just as viable as the southern half of the county around Louisville and Wadley. He was a strong proponent of new industry, new retail shops, etc. -- anything that was going to make that part of Jefferson County better for the residents living there.
Mr. Rabun also was a supporter of recreation for youth. He promoted funding recreational activities at council meetings, as well as through civic organizations in Wrens.
Mr. Clary, the longtime Independent Insurance agent in Harlem, was deeply devoted to the residents of Harlem. Raised in that area of Columbia County, he always wanted what was best for the residents in and around Harlem.
While serving on city council and later as mayor, many positive changes unfolded in Harlem. The same was true when he was elected to the Columbia County Board of Education.
In closing, I'd like to say that both of these men were my friends. I shall miss both of them and often think of them. I am richer in having known Mr. Rabun and Mr. Clary and so are many other people who knew them, too.