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Wiley Bolden, 99: Long life was dedicated to education

Wiley Bolden spent nearly a century as an educator, from working as a professor at Georgia State University to leading both Savannah State University and Morris Brown College.

But he always had time to stop, pause, and smell the roses.

“He knew the names of almost every tree and plant. He would see one and just name it and tell us about it. And he had a green thumb,” said his daughter Millicent Bolden. “I don’t know how he knew them. But he was just curious about everything and he made us curious about everything.”

Dr. Wiley Speights Bolden, who was also thought to be the oldest member in his fraternity in Georgia, died on Jan. 30, 2018 in Atlanta. He was 99.

Read and sign the online guestbook for Dr. Wiley Bolden

»MORE: Follow Black History Month in the AJC

A wake will be held Friday at Murray Brothers Cascade Chapel in Atlanta. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Warren Memorial United Methodist Church, where Dr. Bolden had been a member and Sunday School teacher since 1948.

“He was just a great dad,” Millicent Bolden said. “Education was very important to him and he was a lifelong learner. He was still active and we didn’t expect this. We expected him to go on at least until 100.”

Dr. Bolden was born Dec. 18, 1918 – just a month after the end of the Great War – to Gertrude Speights and Wiley Lee Bolden in Birmingham. He was the oldest of five children. He was initially educated at the Emerson Institute, a private denominational school in Mobile for blacks run by northern white missionaries. He graduated from high school in 1935 and attended Alabama State Teachers College (now known as Alabama State University).

»MORE: Follow the AJC’s series on HBCUs

He graduated in 1939 with a degree in chemistry, but while on campus he pledged into the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

He joined the Eta Lambda Chapter in Atlanta in 1948 and remained an active member until his death.

»MORE: The rise of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

After graduating, Bolden taught math and science and served as a principal in several schools in Alabama. In 1942, as he hopped from school to school, he bumped into Willie Creagh Miller, a teacher at a rival high school with whom he had gone to high school.

He was drafted in 1944 and assigned to Fort Benning, where he taught inductees basic instruction to get them on at least a fourth-grade academic level. His daughter said that that experience heightened his awareness of social disadvantage, while giving him insights into the teaching and learning process.

On August 13, 1945, he married Willie Creagh Miller.

After the two were married they enrolled in masters’ degree programs at Columbia University and both graduated in 1947. The two would have four children.

In the fall of 1948, Dr. Bolden began teaching at Clark College, and after he got his doctorate in 1957, he became chairman of the school’s Department of Psychology and Education. He left Clark in 1967, having become the dean of faculty and instruction.

From 1970 until 1987, he worked as an education professor at Georgia State University. When he retired, the Board of Regents named him Professor Emeritus of Educational Foundations at GSU.

Savannah State lured him out of retirement in February 1988 to serve as acting president until September 1989. While at SSU, he fought off threats of a merger with Armstrong State College. That next retirement didn’t last either as Morris Brown College tapped him to be acting vice president of academic affairs from 1992 until 1994.

Dr. Bolden is survived by two daughters, Millicent Bolden of Birmingham and Lelia E. Bolden of Atlanta; a sister, Madeline Doris Douglas of Los Angeles; a granddaughter, Madeline Bolden of Atlanta; and one great granddaughter, Bethany Bolden, who is a student at Savannah State.

His wife died in 2011, and two other children, Lisa Bolden Monette and Wiley Miller Bolden, also preceded him in death.

“He loved God, education and family,” said daughter Lelia E. Bolden. “He stressed how important it was to live a positive life and help others.”

Georgia lost notable leaders in 2017 who blazed paths in civil rights

Like World War II veterans, the civil rights pioneers in Atlanta and Georgia are aging, and the state lost a number of them in 2017.

Here are six of the many men and women we wrote about after their deaths -- people who lived through the era of falling barriers, often times leading the way.

• J.B. Smith

The Atlanta Student Movement of the turbulent 1960s had a story to tell. And J.B. Smith was determined to be a part of that. 

 John B. “J.B.” Smith Sr., retired educator and longtime editor and publisher of the historically black Atlanta Inquirer, died at 81 in the spring.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves said of him, “Along the way, he was a trailblazer for other African-American journalists who would follow in his footsteps.”

 

Isabelle Daniels Holston

On Dec. 1, 1956, before more than 100,000 spectators, four young women lined up inside the Melbourne, Australia, Cricket Ground for the 16th Olympiad’s 4- by 100-meter relay.

Nineteen-year-old anchor Isabelle Daniels, who trained in high school by running alongside the school bus her father drove, hit the wire at 45.4 seconds.

They were probably the first all-African-American women’s team of any sport to compete in the Olympics. Their time was good enough for a bronze, but all three medal-winning teams — Australia won gold and Great Britain silver — broke the previous world record.  

When she retired as an amateur in 1959 she still held a world record in the 50-yard dash. Holston spent 35 years teaching and coaching track and basketball in several DeKalb County schools.

Read about this remarkable Decatur woman’s life here.

Frank Bates

Frank Bates grew up on a farm in Crawfordville, this historic home of Alexander Stephens, whohad served as Georgia governor and then as vice president of the Confederate States of America. Before Bates’ career ended he worked for two modern state governors,  Zell Miller and and Joe Frank Harris, also for the state technical college system.

Bates became involved in the civil rights movement as a teenager, protesting the firing of five black teachers and advocating the schools’ desegregation. 

 After leading a student walkout, he was bused to an all-white school in a nearby community. On his third day at the new school, he had his jaw broken. 

Fifty-two years later and hours before he died from a heart attack, one of those moments of karmic serendipity occured. His attacker tracked him down, called him and apologized.

Preston Mobley Sr.

In, February, the city said goodbye to Preston Mobley Sr.

Mobley was the program manager and an on-air personality at Atlanta’s WERD, the nation’s first African-American owned radio station from the late 1950s onward.

The station was in the Prince Hall Masonic Temple building on Auburn Avenue, and one floor below it was the headquarters of the newly formed Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Mobley played a role in the civil rights movement, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. relied on him to get the news out.

Erna Bryant

Erna Bryant was a soldier for good in Atlanta and also Boston, where she completed her doctorate in education at Harvard University.

The teacher had a knack for getting to the bottom of a problem, would open her door to anyone that was wanting to do something peacefully, and she did plenty, including taking a leading role in desegregating the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority while living there. She died in March.

Lorenzo Wallace

 

Lorenzo Wallace, a World War II Marine, U.S. Postal Service employee, Congressional Gold Medal recipient and a state Capitol fixture, who ended as Senate sergeant-at-arms, died in March at age 97.

A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Wallace held many jobs - he worked well into his 80s - and lived a notable life, including joining the Marines in World War II. You can read about him here.

More Atlanta news obituaries from 2017

Atlanta leaders ‘heartbroken’ over community member’s shooting death

A well-known community member and leader was shot and killed in his southwest Atlanta front yard Saturday afternoon, police said.

Barney Simms, the 70-year-old president of his neighborhood association, was found dead in his yard on Connally Drive. His front door was unlocked and his black Lexus was missing, police said.

RELATED: Atlanta pays tribute to community leader Barney Simms

Sgt. Warren Pickard, a spokesman for Atlanta police, said Simms was found on the ground in the bushes that separated his yard from his neighbor’s yard, with what appeared to be a single gun shot wound.

Police told Channel 2 Action News witnesses heard gunshots at about 4 p.m.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms called Simms a pillar of the community who would not only don T-shirt and jeans to pick up trash in his neighborhood but also wear the finest suits to meet with leaders who could be held accountable for change.

“I am simply heartbroken by the senseless killing of Barney Simms,” Bottoms said in a statement. “As an active and gracious leader of the Bonnybrook community, there was no task, too big or too small, that he engaged in to make his neighborhood, and city, a better place.”

Hattie Dorsey, the founder and former president of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, has known Simms for decades.

“We haven’t overcome the shock,” Dorsey said.

They shared common cause around issues like affordable housing and neighborhood development.

“He had a strong voice on behalf of his neighborhood, community and the whole of Atlanta’s underprivileged population and demonstrated that concern by working with the Atlanta Housing Authority for many years,” Dorsey said. “His voice, personality and all that he was as a friend will be missed by many of us. You can’t do everything, but he tried to make a dent.”

Brenda J. Muhammad, executive director of Atlanta Victim Assistance where Simms served as chairman of the board, called Simms a friend who was like a brother. She picked up his daughter to take her to church Sunday morning.

“It’s so, so sad that the chair an organization that serves victims of crime, ultimately has become one,” Muhammad said. “I hope his death is a clarion call that we’ve got to do something about the violence that plagues our community.”

Simms helped the community in many ways, such as teaching at Perimeter College and served on the board of the Atlanta license and review board. He retired from the Atlanta Housing Authority.

He had been a member of the Antioch Baptist Church North since 1969, according to the church website.

“Brother Simms has established a remarkable record of volunteerism to Atlanta’s children and to the vitality of Atlanta neighborhoods covering more than three decades of service,” the website says.

Police have yet to make any arrests in this homicide, but Pickard said officers found the missing Lexus in East Point shortly after midnight. Investigators are processing the car for evidence.

An online guest book is available here.

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell dies at 85

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who was part of the Apollo 14 space crew that flew to the moon in 1971, died late Thursday in West Palm Beach, according to his family.

Mitchell, 85, lived in suburban Lake Worth and died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. Thursday, his daughter, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell told The Palm Beach Post.

Mitchell’s ex-wife, Anita Mitchell, is a former Republican Party chairman for Palm Beach County and is currently former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s Palm Beach County campaign chairman.

>>Read more trending stories

Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the moon. He was part of a three-man crew, with Alan Shepard Jr. and Stuart Roosa, who took part in the Apollo 14 space mission. It was the eighth manned mission in the United States Apollo program and they became the third ever to land on the moon. Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on the mission.

Apollo 14 launched just over 45 years ago, on Jan. 31, 1971. The nine-day mission ended Feb. 9 when the crew landed in the South Pacific Ocean.

Unlike other astronauts who tend to live reclusive lives, Mitchell remained in the public eye.

In 2011, he turned over the camera he took to the moon to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against him in that same year, saying he stole the camera. Mitchell denied the allegations and said if it wasn’t for him, the camera would have never made it back to Earth.

>>Read more trending stories

Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, on Sept. 17, 1930 but considered his hometown Artesia, N.M., near Roswell. Mitchell was open about his views on the paranormal and psychic, and he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which sponsors research into the nature of consciousness, or studying the unexplained. In his 1996 memoir, “The Way of the Explorer,” he described the experience on his return to Earth as life-changing.

“What I experienced during that three-day trip home was nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity,” he said.

Herbert Lee Emory, 61: ‘Herb made me a better person’

While family memorial services will be private for the man lovingly known as Captain Herb Emory, his wife wants metro Atlantans to know she feels their love.

Emory was an authority on Atlanta area traffic woes and had worked at AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB and Channel 2 Action News since 1991.

“My heart is full knowing that Herb had such an impact on so many people’s lives,” said a tearful Karen Emory in a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I just ask that everyone pray, to give me and my family the strength to be the kind of person Herb was.”

The family of Herbert Lee Emory, 61, of Douglasville, will receive friends and visitors from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday at the at Jones-Wynn Funeral Home, Douglasville, which is in charge of cremation arrangements.

Karen Emory said there will be a public memorial service and celebration of her husband’s life, hosted by their WSB family, at a later date.

“I cannot express how many wonderful friends and family have been here to support me,” she said. Emory said “the outpouring of genuine love and compassion” she’s received from the WSB family has left her near speechless.

Emory said her husband died Saturday after assisting a young motorist whose car wrecked not far from their home.

“We were in the yard doing some work, and we heard the crash,” she said. “He started down the street towards it with his cellphone, calling 911.”

Once on the scene, Herb Emory seemed to instinctively know what to do, Manuel McFarland, the father of the teenage driver, told Channel 2 Action News. McFarland said his two sons were in the car, and Emory calmed one while attending to the other.

Karen Emory could not contain her emotion after hearing what McFarland said about her husband’s last moments. She said her husband collapsed at the scene of the wreck, while directing traffic. He was later pronounced dead from a massive heart attack.

“He was the most caring, giving individual,” Emory said of her husband of 24 years. “He was totally selfless. Herb made me a better person, and I think he had that effect on anyone that spent any time around him.”

In addition to his wife, Emory is also survived by his mother Joyce Sanders Emory of Pisgah Forest, N.C.

Woman turns up alive 13 days after her funeral

Thirteen days after saying their final farewells to a Sharolyn Jackson, a Philadelphia family got a pleasant surprise when they found Jackson alive and well.

The fifty-year-old was pronounced dead after a body matching her description was found on a street corner on July 20. (Via Daily Mirror)

The body was identified as Jackson by her son and a friend, and was buried under Jackson’s name on August 3. (Via Legacy)

But just 13 days after her funeral, Jackson’s son Travis discovered his mother alive and well at a psychiatric institution in central Philadelphia. (Via New York Daily News)

Jackson’s father, Dave Minnie, told KYW about the moment he learned his daughter was alive after all.

“You know how you feel that you’re just about to get over it? That she’s dead, and then Travis comes here with the news that she’s alive.”

Jackson’s family was obviously overjoyed to have her back, but the question remains: who is buried in Jackson’s grave? The Daily Mail says authorities are trying to find that out.

A writer for The Stir comments the mystery woman the Jacksons laid to rest must put a bit of a damper on the family’s reunion.

“Sure, your mom is OK, but who knows who this other woman has left behind ... and they haven’t even had the comfort of being able to say goodbye to their loved one. Talk about a mixed blessing!”

 Authorities are now seeking a court order to exhume the body. The unknown woman died of natural causes on July 20.

Larry Munson's greatest calls

Larry Munson's play by play descriptions of Georgia football through the years made him a folk hero with Dawgs fans as well as sports fans all across the nation. We have assembled fifteen of his greatest cuts. Click on each link to listen to his memorable voice and style:

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