(EDITOR'S NOTE: In July, I interviewed Boone A. Knox at the Knox Foundation near Thomson and discovered several interesting things about one of Georgia's most successful businessmen. The following piece is a recap of some of the comments shared by Mr. Knox. Mr. Knox died Jan. 13 after a courageous battle with cancer.)
Boone A. Knox long will be remembered as one of the greatest, most influential businessmen ever in the Thomson-Augusta area.
Although wealthy, he never hoarded it. Instead, he gave millions of dollars away to charitable organizations. There were even times when he reached out to help those he didn't know.
Things like that made Mr. Knox special. It demonstrated his big heart and his sincere desire to help people -- one of the many qualities I admired about him.
He was the kind of man everybody enjoyed being around. Highly intelligent and always very versed about business decisions he was involved in, Mr. Knox also knew how to make people laugh.
Mr. Knox also was a friendly man -- just the opposite of many of the wealthy people I have encountered over the years. He was sincere, true and honest as the day is long.
Growing up in Thomson, I remember seeing Boone Knox and his wife, George-Ann, at local sporting events with their children. The family often was seen at Belle Meade Country Club, too.
During the interview with Mr. Knox last summer, he talked about his love for the game of golf.
As much as business and making money was a huge part of his everyday life -- seven days a week looking at the stock market report in various publications and keeping in touch with members of his office staff -- he was passionate about golf, too.
Mr. Knox was a longtime member of the Augusta National Golf Club and loved watching The Masters every year. In the mid-1970s he was so good at the game of golf that he was invited to play as an amateur in The British Open.
Boone Knox, known for being a hands-on businessman, became one of the greatest bankers in the history of Thomson and McDuffie County.
His reputation grew as he led the Bank of Thomson and founded Allied Bank Shares Inc., which grew into very successful and profitable ventures.
Not bad for a man who went into the banking business never really wanting to.
"My daddy told me he wanted me to have a job in banking," said Mr. Knox during his last interview with a reporter.
He caught on well to the banking industry and as a result instantly became friends with many multimillionaires and billionaires throughout the United States and overseas.
Although he didn't have a lot of experience when he began his career as a banker, Mr. Knox was determined to be successful. And soon everyone else knew it, too.
He became friends with the likes of Ted Turner in Atlanta, who once owned CNN and the Atlanta Braves.
"That Ted is a character," recalled Mr. Knox.
Although he relished being a highly successful businessman and giving millions of dollars away to charitable organizations through the Knox Foun- dation and helping this part of Georgia through economic development, Mr. Knox was a man who loved his family most deeply.
He mentioned how much he loved them several times during last summer's interview.
"I am most proud of my wife and our three children," said Mr. Knox. "They have made me very proud."
As a reporter, I will always remember Mr. Knox being kind enough to allow me to interview him. What an honor that was for me.
Mr. Knox was a giant of a man in the business world, but an even bigger giant in a much bigger arena -- the game of life.
I will always remember him as a unique man and one with lots of good friends -- not just acquaintances.