Published 10:46 am Friday, March 24, 2017

FITZGERALD – Jacquelyn Mathis “Jackie” Harden, 84, of Fitzgerald, Georgia, died Sunday, March 19, 2017, at Palemon Gaskins Memorial Nursing Home in Ocilla.

Memorial services were held 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald with the Rev. Jimmy McIlrath and the Rev. Blane Jacobs officiating. Interment was private. The family received friends one hour prior to the service in the sanctuary on Tuesday.

Mrs. Harden was born September 8, 1932, in Fitzgerald, Georgia, to the late James E., Jr. and Pola Meeks Mathis. She was a 1949 graduate of Fitzgerald High School. Mrs. Harden was a cheerleader for the 1948 State Champion Purple Hurricane Football Team. She reigned as Miss Fitzgerald and attended Valdosta Women’s College. Her voice will long be remembered by listeners throughout the area coming across the radio dial on WBHB and later WRDO. She was co-owner of WBHB and hosted a daily radio show called “Today in South Georgia.” She was a former resident of Dawson, Georgia. Mrs. Harden lent her voice to many community events including narrating the annual Christmas Parade, FHS Homecoming Court, and Senior Walks at the Proms. She also served as emcee for many area happenings. She was active in her community as a member of the Cherokee Garden Club, member and past president of the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Arts Council, and a member of the Review Club. She loved her church and served First Baptist Church as an active member of the Dorcas Sunday school class. She formerly taught the 7th grade Sunday school as well.

She is survived by her children and their spouses: Maurisa & Jack Paulk of Fitzgerald, Mike & Jane Harden of Fitzgerald, and Melinda & Eddie Biggers of Cordele; her grandchildren and their spouses: Sharyn & Cam Smith, Dylan & Christy Reach, Shannon & Jimmy McIlrath, Windy & Jeff Dehem, Payton & Cory Dix, Kelly & Nate Faircloth, Caitlin & Bryce Day, and Michael Harden; 16 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and a brother and his wife: James E. “Jim”, III & Marsha Mathis of Roswell. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Maurice E. Harden and a son Monty Mathis “Bodie” Harden.

The family suggests those desiring to send memorials may send them to First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 367, Fitzgerald, Ga 31750.

To sign the online registry, go to www.paulkfuneralhome.com.  Paulk Funeral Home, Fitzgerald, is in charge of arrangements.