Former mayor of Gibson, James Markins, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from a reported heart attack at the age of 57.
Markins was a native and lifelong resident of Gibson, as well as a graduate of Glascock County High School. Markins was probably best known as the funeral director at Sheppard Funeral Home, a business he bought in 1988.
"Earlier, he worked with Mr. Henry and helped with funerals," Carol Markins said of her late husband and the former owners of the funeral home. "He decided that that is what he wanted to do and he got his license."
Markins went to school at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Services to become Sheppard Funeral Home's owner and funeral director. He was also a member of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, the Independent Funeral Directors of Georgia and the Academy of Graduate Embalmers.
"We are going to keep the funeral home open," Carol Markins said. "I plan to continue running the business and we will continue serving the community."
Service to the community was something that was very important to Markins. Markins served as mayor of Gibson from 1986 through 1992, and also served on the city council before becoming mayor. He was a member of the Glascock County Lions Club and Mitchell Full Gospel Church. He served on the boards for the Glascock County Housing Authority, Glascock Action Partners Inc., and the Glascock County School Council.
Markins was the chairman of the Glascock County Health Department as well.
"He was chairman of my Board of Health for more than 13 years," Glascock County Health Department Nurse Manager Nona Lord said. "His are a pair of shoes that will never be filled. He was such a good person. It is just a shocker to think that he is not here with us. He has done everything he could for the Health Department. He was a wonderful person."
Markins also served on the board of directors of the Glascock County Developmental Authority.
"James Markins has been a devoted member of the Glascock County Development Authority since its reactivation in 2005," Chairman Lori Boyen said on behalf of the board. "His service to the community and business skills made him an invaluable asset to the Development Authority...."
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, at the Glascock County School gymnasium in Gibson, with Rev. Mann Kirkland and Rev. Jacky Downs officiating. Burial was in the Mitchell Full Gospel Church Cemetery.
Markins was preceded in death by his father, Elmer Lamar Markins; two sisters, Janice Spivey and Connie Messerly.
Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Carol Markins of Gibson; mother, Lorene McNeal Markins of Gibson; daughter, Lesley Markins of Augusta; son, Jason J. Markins of Augusta; two grandchildren, Katelyn Washington and Eli Carroll; brother, Otto (Jeannie) Markins of Valdosta; sisters, Barbara Johns of Mobile, Ala., Alice (Pete) Adams of Chatsworth, and Debra (Timothy) Gagner of Grovetown; several nieces, nephews, cousins; and many friends.
Contributions made in his honor can be sent to the Glascock County Athletic Department, 1230 Panther Way, Gibson, GA 30810.