Letter: Lamar Reece was asset to community

Published 6:25 pm Monday, December 19, 2016


Over the years LaGrange has had the good fortune to have a number of key community leaders leave our area only to come back during their retirement years as well as returning to either start new commercial opportunities or complete prior service with their existing firms. They have performed outstanding service both within industry as well as volunteer work. It is easy to leave key names out but to mention just a few, think of Judy and Sonny Boggus, Jim and Bobbie Hamilton, Bill and Betti Martin, Tom and Pat Malone, Walter and Marianne Murphy and many others.


Sometimes the opposite happens when someone lives in LaGrange but starts a business elsewhere that also includes community service at the highest level in their new hometown. In an honest assessment of our community, we must admit that some of the best never return. A friend and I attended a memorial service on Wednesday for J. Lamar Reese, Jr. at Porterfield United Methodist Church. His obituary that appeared in the LaGrange Daily News confirmed not only the business success of Mr. Reese, but his lifetime of service to the greater Albany community as well as the State of Georgia. From his Church, to the public school system, to their local Chamber of Commerce, he excelled at all levels. When his direct leadership was required, he never hesitated to take the lead. Equally important, when his influence was better served in the background or in a support role, he proved the value of being a team player. More simply, he did not require the bright light on himself to make any organization that he was a part of even better.


Baseball is a game that provides for great quotes. Among my favorite is, “sometimes you win the game, sometimes you lose, and sometimes the game was rained out.” Lamar Reese added yet another extension of the above quote. After spending his youth here, and later graduating from LaGrange High, then Georgia Tech, plus service in the U. S. Navy, he moved to Albany, where he won a ton of games. He also understood the value of expanding the playing field and creating more games.


LaGrange lost a true leader when Lamar Reese moved away.  His legacy, however, continues to live here through his son Mack Reese, his daughter-in -law, Holly, and his grandchildren, Jordan, Mack Jr. and Robert. Like others, they elected to return to LaGrange and dedicate their lives to making our community prosper to an even higher level. Love of a community and living lives of service go hand in hand. The Reese family knows this to be true, and hopefully LaGrange understands that sometimes you may have to skip a generation, but we should always look for ways to get the best of our best to continue to come home.


Charles Stevens