Wednesday February 1st – OBITS (5)

Donald Rogers “Buddy” McRae

Mr. Donald Rogers “Buddy” McRae, age 82, of LaGrange, passed away on January 27, 2017. Mr. McRae was born on December 19, 1934 in Hogansville to the late Melvin McRae and Annie Mae McDaniel McRae. He proudly served his country in the United States Navy and worked for the Troup County School System as a bus driver for over 26 years. In addition, he owned and operated his own upholstery business. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Donald “Buddy” McRae, Jr.; brothers, C.J. McRae and Harvey McRae. Survivors include his wife of almost 63 years, Peggy Smith McRae of LaGrange; daughters, Deborah Smith of LaGrange and Donna Burgess of LaGrange; brother, William “Billy” McRae; grandchildren, Haley Smith, Jason Burgess (Leila), Stanley Smith; great grandchildren, Kelsea, Gracee, Paydon, Madison, Bella Rose, Ethan and Lavin; nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Services for Mr. McRae were held on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Higgins LaGrange Chapel. Family received friends from 4-6 pm at the funeral home. Online condolences may be sent to the family

Higgins LaGrange Chapel Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.



Estella Mae Smith

Mrs. Estella Mae Smith, age 83, of LaGrange, passed away Thursday, January 26, 2017 at West Georgia Medical Center. She was born March 18, 1933 in Montpelier, Vermont, the daughter of Maude and Stanley Robert George.,Estella is survived by her sons, Robert “Bobby” and Kimberly Smith, David and Rhonda Smith and Paul and Sandra Smith; daughter, Debra Holland; sister, Madie Wakefield; half-sisters, June Hardy and Abel Hardy; many grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Russell Smith, son Nichola Smith and sister Carol George. The family received friends from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at Hunter-Allen-Myhand Funeral Home. The Funeral was held at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, at Friendship Baptist Church, 106 North Barnard Avenue, LaGrange. Pastor Tom Kennedy officiated. Interment followed at Shadowlawn Cemetery. Please join the family in honoring the life of Mrs. Estella Mae Smith by visiting and posting your tributes and memories.

Hunter-Allen-Myhand Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.



John Thomas “Tom” West

After a long and fruitful life of community service, John Thomas “Tom” West passed away January 23, 2017 in LaGrange. Tom was born in Live Oak, Florida on June 23, 1924 to Dr. James Whitaker West and Lela Eulalia Moore West. He attended Suwanee High School in Live Oak, but graduated from MacBurney School in New York City in 1942. Pre-med studies at University of Michigan were temporarily interrupted by conscription into the US Navy where he served in the medical corps.  After graduation in 1946, he spent a year working as a parasitologist for the Florida health department, where his supervisor was Ruth Blakely from Seattle, whom he married in 1948.  He graduated from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1951.  Following internships in US Public Health Service hospitals in Seattle, Mobile, and Detroit, as well as on the Coast Guard cutter ‘Campbell’, he returned to Seattle to complete a surgical residency.  In 1957 the family moved to Anchorage, Alaska where Tom served as chief of surgery in the USPHS hospital there. He frequently was called upon to travel by sea plane to perform needed surgeries in remote Eskimo villages, some of which were north of the Arctic Circle.  In 1960 he was appointed Senior Investigator for the National Cancer Institute at National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he studied cancer treatment options.   In 1963, the family returned to Seattle, where he practiced surgery at the USPHS hospital for 6 years during which Tom volunteered for a 3-month stint providing needed surgeries for injured Vietnamese civilians.  In 1969 he took a position at the USPHS Indian Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, which often entailed trips to remote reservations. In 1971 Tom retired from the Public Health Service and went into private practice in LaGrange, where he practiced general surgery and oncology with Dr. Madhav Naik. Except for three years in Lubbock Texas, he lived and worked in La Grange until his retirement in 1994. Tom was an avid runner, helping to organize, “The Long Cane-Gabbettville ‘Run for the Kudzu’ Road Race” and “The Best Dam Race in Georgia”, at West Point Dam, raising funds for charities. He joyously participated in many 10K races in Atlanta, Macon, Columbus and elsewhere.  For the ’96 Olympics he was one of the runners chosen to carry the Olympic torch for a portion of its route to Atlanta.  At age ninety, he became the oldest member of the Towne Fitness Center, where he worked out several times a week. Tom and Ruth loved to dance, at social events, as part of the LaGrange Shufflers square dance club and, donning a kilt Tom enjoyed being part of a Scottish country dancing group. They joined the Order of the Tartan to celebrate their Scottish heritage as part of the Order of the Tartan. Tom was a life-long lover of music. One could count on hearing music in the house, or in the car, or walking down the Medical Center hallways, or in surgery.  He would either be playing recordings of some of his favorites or singing one of the hundreds of songs he kept in his memory.  In his 70’s he took up the guitar, and enjoyed writing and playing songs for and about his friends and family. He sang in the choir at The First Presbyterian Church where he was a long-time member.  He also served as an elder, adult Sunday school teacher, lunch program volunteer, was a vocal participant in the men’s Bible Study and was on the examinations committee for the Presbyterian Church USA.  He donated his time and medical skills, traveling three times to Presbyterian missions in Zaire, and provided medical assistance by giving physical examinations to campers at Camp Viola in Troup County. Tom actively supported several civic and educational organizations, including the American Red Cross, Twin Cedars, the LaGrange Symphony, LaGrange College, Sierra Club, Retired Military Officers Association, and community clinics.  He compiled and published, ‘For Love of Country’, a book detailing the lives of Troup County soldiers from the Civil War up to the present. In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by a brother, James W. West; sisters, Margaret Arnold and Ann McDonald; an infant son, John West; and distant cousin, Mais Oui West.  He is survived by his children: Phyllis Ernsberger (John) of Portland, OR; Rebecca Okie (Dick) of Warner Robins, GA; James West of LaGrange; Jeffrey West (Deborah) of Seattle, WA; and Paul West of LaGrange. He leaves seven grandchildren:  Abraham Okie, Rebecca Scott, Tom Okie, Karl Ernsberger, Ellen Hoover, Charlotte Swanson, and Deanna Hart, as well as 15 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews.  A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 3 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, to honor the life of this generous man, donations may be made in his memory to First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, Vanderbilt University Medical School James Whitaker West scholarship fund, or the American Cancer Society. Please join the family in honoring the life of John Thomas “Tom” West, by visiting and posting your tributes and memories.

Arrangements are in the care of Hunter-Allen-Myhand Funeral Home, LaGrange.



Emmett M. Swann

Mr. Emmett M. Swann, age 87, of Lanett, passed away on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the EAMC Lanier Health Services Hospital in Valley. Mr. Swann was born on December 25, 1929 in Lanett to the late Emmett Gay Swann and Mary L. Justice Swann. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mrs. Jessie Swann, and his son, Bobby Moore. Mr. Swann was a graduate of Lanett High School. Upon graduating, he joined the United States Army serving in World War II and the Korean War. He retired from the Shawmut Mill, where he was a supervisor in the supply room. After retirement, he worked for Cain Auto Sales.

He was a member of the Lanett First Church of the Nazarene. Funeral services were held on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 2:00P.M. EST at the Lanett First Church of the Nazarene. Interment followed in Resthaven Cemetery. The Rev. Bernie Deffinger officiated. He is survived by his children, Emily Rivera, Lanett, Brenda (Bobby) Gillilan, Valley, Nita Thompson, Valley, Laura (James) Smith, Lanett, June Henderson, Lanett, Norine Moore, Lanett, Ann (Billy) Messer, Valley; grandchildren, Randy Messer, Richard (Karen) Messer, Christy Wesson, Angie (Johnny) Blakely, Crystal Robertson, Bobby L. (Michelle) Moore, Robby (Leah) Moore, Tammy H. (Joel) Wood, Alicia Arrington, Destiny Rivera, Jenna (Justin) Jarrell; 15 great-grandchildren; brothers, Harold Swann, Gayle Swann, Gene Swann; sisters, Linda Attaway, Helen Wright. Please visit our website at to sign our online guest book and to leave a condolence for the family.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley directed.



Genene Fetner

Mrs. Genene Fetner, age 81, of LaGrange, passed away Saturday, January 28, 2017 at LaGrange Nursing and Rehabilitation. Mrs. Fetner was born May 24, 1935, daughter of the late William Lunnie Gay and Carrie Lee Causey Gay.  She was a member of Sunnyside Baptist Church, now Fountain Baptist Church, and the Senior Citizen Center. Mrs. Fetner was retired from Milliken Design Center. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Clayton Presley “Buck” Fetner, and two brothers, Wayne Gay and Radford Gay. Survivors include four daughters, Vicki Hamrick (Dwight), Terri Hicks (Jeff), Pam Gay (Eddie Webb), and Mary Alise (John); grandchildren,  Courtney Millenbine (Rocky), Caitlyn Hamrick (Robbie Serpas), Daniel Hicks (Laura), Karley Huddleston (Bryan), Wesley Gay, Luke Gay, Morgan Alise (Michael Manning), and Josh Alise; 5 great grandchildren, sister-in-law, Martha Fetner; and numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, January 30, 2017 in the Chapel of Striffler-Hamby Mortuary. Mr. Jay Fain and Rev. Cleve Moore officiated. Burial  followed in Randolph Memory Gardens, Roanoke, AL. The gathering of family and friends was held on Monday from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at the funeral home. Flowers will be accepted or contributions be made to Sunnyside Baptist Church, now Fountain Baptist Church, in memory of Mrs. Genene Fetner.

Those wishing to share a condolence or remembrance with the family may do so by visiting

Arrangements were by Striffler-Hamby Mortuary.