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Billy Carter dead at 83


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  A significant part of Henry County’s history was laid to rest Monday in Locust Grove.

Special photo

  William Lanier (Billy) Carter died Friday. He was 83. A lifelong Henry County resident, he was a businessman as well as a civic and community leader who spent more than a half-century in public service.

  “Billy touched a lot of people,” said Bob White, executive director of the Henry County Development Authority. Carter was one of the original board members of that body when it was formed in 1968 and was chairman for most of the next 40-plus years, stepping down in 2010 for health reasons.

  Beginning in 1970, he also served on the county’s Planning & Zoning Board for more than two decades, nearly all of that time as its chairman. He stepped down in 1996 when new county regulations mandated that a citizen could only serve in one appointed position, and he chose to remain on the Development Authority.

  He was appointed to his various county positions by nine different county commissioners.

  It was in Locust Grove, however, that he had the greatest impact. He was a city councilman off and on for more than 40 years from 1950 until just a few years ago. He was Locust Grove’ police chief from 1957 until 1982.

  “He was the go-to person” in Locust Grove, according to his son-in-law Warren Holder, a longtime public servant in his own right. “If you had a police matter, a fire, a broken pipe or a cat on the roof, he was the guy.”

  Holder compared Carter and Locust Grove during those years to Andy Griffith and Mayberry, noting the respect that so much of the community had for him.

  “People came to him for all kinds of advice and he pointed them in the right direction,” said Holder.

  Carter’s civic involvement over the years included the Henry County Farm Bureau, the Locust Grove Lions Club and the Henry County Jaycees. He was also on the Board of Trustees at Griffin Tech.

  His service as a Mason was “near and dear to him,” according to Holder, who said that Carter helped many burn victims and sick children receive treatment at Scottish Rite and other places.

  He was a member of Masonic Fraternal Lodge #37 in McDonough for more than 50 years. He was a charter member of the Griffin Shrine Club and served as potentate of Yaarab Temple in 1986, and he was also first governor of the Henry County Moose Lodge.

  A member of Locust Grove’s First Baptist Church, Carter owned a trucking company from the early 1950s until the mid-1980s and operated an auction company from 1990 until a few years ago.

  One of the four major awards given annually by the Henry County Chamber of Commerce is the Billy Carter Public Service Award.

  He is survived by his wife, Gladys Carter of Locust Grove; daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and Warren Holder of Locust Grove; three grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, one sister, one niece and one nephew. All of them live in Henry County.

  “He was a tremendous leader, obviously. His fingerprints are on much of the growth in Henry County from the 1960s on,” said White. “For me, he was a mentor and a good friend.”



©Henry County Times, Inc.