Longtime Dooly Commissioner Harry Ward passes away

Published 5:22 pm Thursday, January 7, 2021

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By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor


On the very day that Tim Robinson was sworn in as Ward 4 Dooly County Commissioner, his predecessor, Harry Ward died after a long illness.

Ward, 87, who most every one called “Coach,” served as County Commissioner from June 1992 until December 2020 and as the chairman in 2011. He came by the name naturally.

He died Thursday morning at the Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins.

The funeral service will be announced at a later date pending the completion of the arrangements.

“He was the basketball and track coach at a high school in Cochran,” said District 5 Commissioner David Barron. “After a few years there, he came to Vienna High and Industrial School and coached men and women’s basketball and men and women’s track and field. I was one of his first athletes here in Vienna.”

Barron said that “Coach” played just as big a role in his development from a schoolboy into a man.

“He was always my mentor in school and later when I became a County

Commissioner,” he said.

His voice cracking with emotion, County Administrator Steve Sanders, led the Commission in prayer asking God to “wrap his arms around the Ward family.”

The news of Ward’s passing was such a shock to Barron, who had just been elected to be the Commission chair that he had to decline conducting his initial meeting.

Moving on to the housekeeping that must be done every January, Commissioner Eugene Cason was elected to be the vice-chairman and Bert Gregory was selected to serve as county attorney.

After nominations to various committees and boards, the Commission designated January 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; April 2 Good Friday; May 31, Memorial Day; Independence Day, July 5 (July 4 is a Sunday); September 6, Labor Day; November 11, Veteran’s Day; November 25, Thanksgiving; and December 23 and 24 because Christmas is on a Saturday as county holidays.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Sanders said the state adopted new regulations that will affect the county’s timber harvesting ordinance. The county ordinance must be amended to meet the new regulations.
  • Learned the County Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on January 25 at 5:30 pm at the Commission office to hear a request from Real Estate Wireless Services LLC to build and operate a cell tower on Adams Road on property owned by Frances Southwell; and a request from General Dynamics to build and operate a cell tower on Pleasant Hill Road on property owned by Cedric and Heather Cobb.

The next regular meeting of the Dooly County Board of commissioners is scheduled for Thursday, January 21 at 9 a.m. at the commission office, 113 N. Third Street, Room No.1, Vienna, GA 31092