Below is from the Georgia General Assembly, a proclamation honoring a well-loved local man, Mr. Jere Ayers by naming part of Rt. 98 after him. He was one of our church‘s Deacons for over 50 years and Sunday School Director for 23. He ran The Comer News with love and heart, and the Danielsville Monitor, too. The ceremony to place the sign at Gholston Stand on Rt. 98 was conducted on Monday, and I felt a swell of pride in passing it on Tuesday. I wish I’d known Mr. Jere. I heard that he died in May 2005, late on a Tuesday night, coming home in the wee hours after putting the newspaper to bed. His car ran off the road, and they think it was a heart attack. He was 91, and he died with his boots on, serving his county that he loved so much.
Much has been written about Mr. Jere. Zach Mitcham of the Madison County Journal wrote about him in 2004 as Mr. Jere was receiving the Citizen of the Year award from the Lions’s Club. Friendly rivals, later the Madison Journal company bought The Comer News and Danielsville Monitor after Mr. Jere’s death.
This is a nice story by Lee Shearer of the Athens Banner Herald. And with no other family member to take over, within a few months of Mr Jere’s death, the papers folded. The family had owned them for almost 100 years.
Wayne Ford of the Athens Banner Herald wrote about Mr Jere in 2007, after looking at the sad plate glass window still bearing ‘The Comer News‘ sign on it.
The last editor of the Comer News, Jennifer Fogal, also wrote, fondly remembering Mr. Jere. And this article was about the last edition.
And this past July, when the news broke that the Georgia Department of Transportation had approved a section of Rt 98 to be dedicated in his name, once again, Mr. Jere was in the news. Take a moment to read the Proclamation, it gives a sense of the mettle of the man this county misses so much.
08 LC 28 3792
Senate Resolution 716
By: Senator Hudgens of the 47th
A RESOLUTION Dedicating the Jere Ayers Parkway; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, Jere C. Ayers, a lifelong resident of Madison County, died on May 13, 2005, at the age of 91; and
WHEREAS, “Mr. Jere,” as he was known to all, was a uniquely dedicated and valued citizen of Madison County whose contributions to the public good and civic life of the county are too numerous to list in their entirety; and
WHEREAS, among Mr. Jere’s accomplishments are his service in the United States Navy during World War II; his lifelong work in journalism, beginning with his employment as a youth at The Comer News, which his parents purchased in 1914 and of which he became owner and publisher in 1945, and his later service as the owner and publisher of Madison County Newspapers, Inc., The Comer News, and the Danielsville Monitor; his dedication to the Meadow Baptist Church where he served over 50 years as a deacon and 23 years as Sunday school director; his over 50 years of service as a Mason, Scottish Rite and York Rite; his 67 years with the Woodsmen of the World; his charter membership in the Madison County Rotary Club; his membership in the American Legion since World War II; his charter membership in the Comer Lions Club which honored him with its 50 Year Award; his service as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in the 1950’s; being the recipient of the 50 Year Medallion from the Georgia Press Association for 50 years of service to the newspaper industry; his service as a board member of the Madison County Library until his retirement; and his critical role in the acquisition of the Watson Mill Bridge State Park land; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Jere will be greatly missed by the citizens of Madison County for the vital role that he played in the county and for his stellar example of public service and commitment; and
WHEREAS, he diligently and conscientiously devoted innumerable hours of his time, talents, and energy toward the betterment of his community, state, and nation; and
WHEREAS, his significant organizational and leadership talents, his remarkable patience and diplomacy, his keen sense of vision, and his sensitivity to the needs of the citizens of his nation earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and associates; and
WHEREAS, he was a person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness, and it is only fitting and proper that State Route 98 in Madison County from the traffic light at the intersection with State Route 72 in the City of Comer to the traffic light at the intersection with U. S. Highway 29 in the City of Danielsville should be named in his honor.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that the members of this body honor Jere C. Ayers for his dedicated service to this state and nation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that State Route 98 in Madison County from the traffic light at the intersection with State Route 72 in the City of Comer to the traffic light at the intersection with U. S. Highway 29 in the City of Danielsville is dedicated as the Jere Ayers Parkway.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Transportation is authorized and directed to erect and maintain appropriate signs dedicating the Jere Ayers Parkway.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to the Board of Commissioners of Madison County and to the Department of Transportation.