Valdosta Daily Times

May 15, 2014

George Flowers McCranie III

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — George Flowers McCranie III, 93, passed away Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, from complications of a stroke.

He was born in Willacoochee, Ga., on Nov. 13, 1920, to George Flowers McCranie Jr. and Margaret Ellen (Madge) Baker McCranie. He was a lifelong resident of Willacoochee.

He graduated from Willacoochee High School in 1938. His graduating class consisted of three boys, including Mr. McCranie, and three girls. He attended college at Gordon Military College in Barnesville, Ga., and South Georgia College in Douglas, Ga. Mr. McCranie was a WWII U.S. Army veteran.  

He was a prominent naval stores operator, tree farmer and businessman. He was the middle McCranie brother, who as teenagers, built the McCranie Turpentine Still in 1936. The turpentine still is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The brothers took turns working in order to send one another to college. He and his brothers, Baker and Shasta, were in a business partnership for 78 years. Together, they owned and operated the McCranie Turpentine Still, McCranie Brothers Wood Preserving, and McCranie Brothers Farms.  

Mr. McCranie served his community as a member of the Willacoochee City Council, was an Atkinson County School Board member for 26 years, and was a founding member of the Atkinson County Housing Authority, on which he served for 58 years. He was an honorary member of the Georgia Young Farmers Association, and he and his wife enjoyed showing off their dancing skills at the annual conventions.  

He was a lifelong traveler. When he was 13, he and his family traveled to Chicago, Ill., to the 1933 World’s Fair. He and his brothers were given 75 cents per day to take in the attractions. He went to Europe numerous times. His favorite trip was to Venice and Florence, Italy, where he was able to visit his best friend, Thurston Ivey’s burial site at the World War II Italian-American Cemetery outside Florence. He visited every state in the union and sailed through the Panama Canal. He, his son, Greg, and friend, James Carter, traveled to Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969.

Mr. McCranie was a licensed pilot, boater, and last but not least, an animal lover. He always fed the birds and squirrels and taught his horse to chew tobacco. He enjoyed raising donkeys, too. He entertained his children by telling them stories about growing up in Willacoochee and his childhood friend named Umphredus McRafus Paul Barnes Jr. He was quite the storyteller.     

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Imogene Purvis McCranie; son, George Flowers McCranie IV, wife Danielle of Willacoochee, Ga.; daughter, Katherine Elneita McCranie of Willacoochee; son, Steve Chapman Sr., wife Marie of Ashburn, Ga.; son, Greg Chapman of Ashburn; six grandchildren, Steven Chapman Jr., Jennifer Chalon, Duane Chapman, Ben Chapman, Margaret Ellen (Madge) McCranie, and Alexandria Bowen; nine great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant daughter; and his brother, Baker McCranie.

Funeral services were held Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 11 a.m. at the McCranie Turpentine Still in Willacoochee, with John Lindsey officiating. Bagpiper, Phillip McDevitt, of Warner Robins, Ga., played various selections, including “Amazing Grace” and “Taps.”  Fred Paulk on harmonica accompanied by Mr. D.Q. Pittman on the guitar played “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Beyond the Sunset,” and “Where the Soul Never Dies.”  

Internment was in the McCranie Cemetery in Willacoochee, Ga. Pallbearers were Ryan McCranie, Dr. Henry Sheffield, Ben Chapman, Dr. Clint Sheffield, Trebor Gaskins, Tate Hodges, and Trevor Carter.

Honorary pallbearers were Quinton Dillingham, Lt. Col. Charles Boatwright, ret., Jim McCranie, Bill McCranie, Slade McCranie, Judson McCranie, General John R. Paulk, ret., Lucious Jacobs, Danny Hodges, Michael Purvis, Fred Paulk, James Carter, Edwin Davis Sr., Marvin Giddens, Jimmy McCrea, J.Q. McMillan, Jimmy Gaskins, James Moore, Sid Strickland, J.B. Olliff, John Boatwright, Garland Thompson, Lace Futch, Warren Paulk, Charlie Bray, Jim Mills, Ray Shealey, Mike Tucker, Jackie Merritt, Monk Reliford, Donnie Smith, Jimmy Metts and Harry Brown. — Relihan Funeral Home in Pearson was in charge of arrangements.