03/08/04 — Georgia's legacy

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Georgia's legacy

By Gene Price
Published in News on March 8, 2004 1:57 PM

We said “so long” to Georgia Tanner today: The hundreds who gathered at First Presbyterian Church — and the thousands across our county and state. In essence, all were “family.” Some by blood or marriage or personal friendship.

And all by being among the family of readers of her Sunday column.

I have run into some of the latter in supermarket check-out lines, in chance meetings with friends on the street. And in conversation with wives of tenant farmers in the most remote areas of rural Wayne.

I was the 24-year-old city editor of the News-Argus when Georgia and Hal Tanner came to Goldsboro for him to become publisher of the newspaper in 1953. The Tanners were still in their 30’s.

Both immediately dispelled — throughout the news plant and the community — any apprehensions over the change of management. Indeed, they conveyed the assurance that they were dedicated to making the business and the community better, and all our people happier.

With her infectious, upbeat personality and her columns, Georgia Tanner always inspired people to see things that made them feel better about their surroundings, their community — and about themselves.

Three years ago, Georgia wrote a piece for a special edition focusing on senior citizens. She was 85 then.

She began by suggesting that she wasn’t sure how she had reached “this advanced age... but I sure had a good time arriving here.”

And in that column she had some sage counsel for all of us, regardless of age:

“Do not retreat from everyday life. Do something to keep you alert and still loving life; love your children and your friends. Try not to impose or constantly complain. Good luck to you in your dotage. My wish is that you will happily age.”

Many among us are being able to do just that — thanks to Georgia Tanner.

And that is one of her great legacies to this community.