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Oscar Jonas


20th ANNIVERSARY: 20 Regional Philanthropists We Miss

In Northwest Georgia, our Foundation is fortunate to know —and to have known—many of local philanthropists who dedicated their lives and treasure to improving the quality of life throughout our region through acts of selfless, charitable giving. Whether their gifts funded departments at local colleges and universities, made possible a historic site that draws thousands to its grounds each year, restored a community theatre used for local performances, or launched a thriving church endowment, the late philanthropists of our region were true pioneers who left Northwest Georgia a powerful legacy.

To commemorate our twenty-year history of advancing local philanthropy, we are posting special reflections and topics for twenty weeks. Today, we present twenty philanthropists we miss (we know there are so many more). Did you know any of the fine people on this list? Please share your story with us.

1.      James and Sis Brown — aside from starting Brown Industries, the Browns are known for their 60+ years of community involvement and giving including generous gifts to Hamilton Medical Center, Dalton State College, Reinhardt College in Waleska, and our Foundation. In fact, James was a founding member of the Foundation, and Miss Sis served on the Dalton-Whitfield’s affiliate board for several years.

2.      John F. and Ann Felton Collins — Lifetime residents of Bartow County, the Collinses bequested $500,000 to endow a chair in Environmental Technology at North Metro Technical College and made significant contributions to Georgia Highlands College, the Etowah Scholarship Foundation, and Tellus Science Museum.

Oscar and Peggy Jonas were tireless advocates for the arts. Upon Oscar's death in 1968, his friends and family founded the Oscar N. Jonas Memorial Foundation, which continues to support in-school arts programs in Whitfield County, Dalton City, and Murray County schools.

Oscar and Peggy Jonas were tireless advocates for the arts. Upon Oscar's death in 1968, his friends and family founded the Oscar N. Jonas Memorial Foundation, which continues to support in-school arts programs in Whitfield County, Dalton City, and Murray County schools.

3.      Zack Norville — Known for his exotic animal farm, Zack Norville was a passionate supporter of United Way of Northwest Georgia, as well as other community projects and causes.

4.      Oscar and Peggy Jonas — Oscar and Peggy were passionate advocates of the arts in Murray and Whitfield Counties and founded the Creative Arts Guild with others in the community.

5.      Alan and Shirley Lorberbaum — In addition to founding Aladdin Mills in 1957, the Lorberbaums delivered financial support to Dalton State College, United Way, Whitfield County - Dalton Day Care Center, and the Creative Arts Guild.

6.      Raymond and Pearl King — After selling their thriving construction business, the Kings donated the land for the Calhoun Educational Complex, donated over 20 vehicles to the Coosa Valley Technical College, and made a sizable donation to kick start the Calhoun-Gordon Community Foundation Endowment. Perhaps their most visible contribution to the community was the leadership and financial support they gave to the restoration of downtown’s GEM Theatre.

7.      Sam Smith — Smith, along with a group of other local businessmen, founded Century Bank of Bartow County where he served as president, CEO and director until his passing in 2005, but he is perhaps best remembered for his community leadership and philanthropy — Lion's Club, Joint Development Authority for Cartersville and Bartow County, Democratic National Committee, etc. He placed special emphasis on projects that improved his church, Sam Jones UMC, and Cartersville Little League Baseball.

8.      Fannie B. Jones — Fannie B. was an iconic figure of the city of Dalton. As a trustee of Hamilton Medical Center, the Dalton State College Foundation, the Community Foundation, and in many other leadership roles, she was distinguished by her energy, her organizational ability, and her financial support. Her charitable focuses were healthcare, education, religious issues, and civil rights.

9.      Jack Turner — Jack Turner was a tireless advocate for Hamilton Medical Center and Dalton First Baptist Church. He’s credited with spearheading the “First Foundation” endowment for the church.

10.  Julius “Bud” Shaw — Known for merging the interests of Star Finishing and Sabre/Philadelphia into Shaw Industries, Inc., Bud’s charitable ventures include generous gifts to Georgia Tech and First Presbyterian Church in Cartersville. He personally funded many grants to promote character education in young people.

11.  Tom Durkan, Sr. – He was the founder of Durkan Patterned Carpet, but many in Northwest Georgia remember Tom Durkan, Sr. as a philanthropist with a kind, generous heart. Among his quiet charitable acts, Durkan supported the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center, Centro Latino, and funded the construction of soccer fields for Dalton’s youth.

12.  Thomas and Peggy Jones — A prominent Dalton businessman who cofounded J+J Industries, Tom served on the Dalton Board of Education for 26 years and was chairman from 1967 to 1986. The Joneses supported an array of causes that focused on improving the lives of families including gifts to Friendship House, Dalton High School and their athletic program, and the Dalton Education Foundation.

13.  Lamar Hennon — Founder of Carpets of Dalton, Lamar Hennon is also remembered for his work ethic and helping others. His support of athletics spans from Dalton High School to Whitfield County Schools to several colleges and universities. The baseball stadium at Western Carolina University is named for Hennon to recognize a significant financial contribution he made to expand and upgrade the facility.

14.  Harry and Helen Saul — Harry Saul and his wife, Helen, co-founded a small chenille business in 1946. Who knew back then that the little business that manufactured children’s robes would eventually become Queen Carpet.

15.  Lamar and Lulu Westcott — Founders of Cabin Craft, the Westcotts appear throughout Dalton’s rich history. In the mid Forties, Lamar Westcott raised $4,000 for The Empty Stocking Fund, a precursor to the Community Chest which evolved to our local United Way. They also gave generously to Berry College in Rome, the PENCIL Foundation in Tennessee and many others.

16.  Ken Boring — In his lifetime, Ken was a businessman, humanitarian, philanthropist and was a strong supporter of the Salvation Army, Dalton State College, University of Tennessee, Maryville College, Whitfield Healthcare Foundation, Junior Achievement, and so many others. The Borings also established The Kenneth E. and Dottie S. Boring Healthcare Scholarship at Dalton State College and donated the 13-acre Prater’s Mill historic site to Whitfield County.

17.  Clarence Harris — Founder of Carriage Industries in Calhoun and a true philanthropist, Mr. Harris helped many including a gift of $1 million to help fuel an endowment at the University of Tennessee. The Foundation named for him has continued to help the community with large donations to Gordon Hospital to build the Harris Radiation Center, the Harris Arts Center, Habitat for Humanity of Gordon County, the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center, and so many others.

18.  Carolyn Hamrick — Carolyn Hamrick was the beloved Campus Dean of Georgia Highlands College in Cartersville. Generous with her time and her financial support, she focused on projects that helped her college, her church, and her community. She was a supporter of Georgia Highlands College and Sam Jones United Methodist Church.

19.  Jim and Sybil Boring — The Borings gave generously to the community including significant gifts to United Way of Northwest Georgia, the Huff House, Reinhardt College, and Hamilton Medical Center. Prater’s Mill historic site was also gifted to Whitfield County by the Boring family.

20.  Matthew Hill — a retired Cartersville educator and school board member, Coach Matthew Hill was a well-known and well liked volunteer in Bartow County until his death in 2009. He supported an array of causes in his lifetime including his church, St. Luke AME Church, New Frontiers, Hope House, Boys & Girls Club, Glory Harvester Prison Ministry, and Advocates for Children.

Thank you for being part of the Foundation’s history. Please help us share our story by sharing our posts with others. And as always, if we can be of service to you, your family, or your company, please contact us at (706) 275-9117.