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ARTHUR GERALD SPRINGER, JR.

Obituary
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COLUMBUS, GA- Arthur G. Springer, Jr. passed away at age 94 on April 1, 2013. He lived almost all his life in Columbus, Georgia, a town he loved and served in many capacities. Arthur was born in Girard, Alabama on Sept. 26, 1918. At a young age, his family moved back to Columbus, where, after graduating from Columbus High School, he followed in his father's footsteps to Golden's Foundry. He met his lovely wife, Shirley (nee Gibson) on the stage of the Springer Opera House and they were married in June, 1940. They had three children: Carol Springer Dayton, Gerry Springer, and Mimi Springer Howe. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur G. Springer, Sr & Jessie Belle Ingram Springer, his beloved wife Shirley, and his younger brother Walter Frederick Springer. Arthur left Columbus for the first time to enlist in the Army at Ft. McClellan, Alabama on May 12, 1943 and then returned to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. He served in Company I, 301st Infantry, 94th Infantry Division in World War II, where he was seriously wounded in an assault near Nennig, Germany. He was honored with the Purple Heart medal for wounds suffered in combat. He worked for several employers in Columbus after the war until he was recruited to the Columbus Chamber of Commerce as Assistant Director, where he supervised the Jaycees and promoted Columbus in several capacities. In June, 1957, he accepted the Executive Directorship of the Chamber of Commerce in Talladega, Alabama. While there, his community leadership was instrumental in the development of many projects including the well-known NASCAR track and the Logan-Martin Dam. He was then recruited to return to Columbus as the Executive Director of the Chattahoochee Valley Fair, where he served from 1962 until his retirement in 1991. Arthur faithfully attended his Sunday School class and the Senior Choir at First Baptist Church of Columbus, also serving as a Deacon for many years, and remaining a Deacon Emeritus. He was faithfully married to one woman until God took her home a week before their 65th wedding anniversary. He was a member of Kiwanis International, and maintained perfect attendance at his local club where he served as President and in many other positions. Statewide Kiwanians honored him by electing him Lt. Governor for the State of Georgia. He exhibited a firm commitment to the children, artists, gardeners, and livestock ranchers of the Chattahoochee Valley by preserving the agrarian history and ongoing industry of our land through his commitment to the Chattahoochee Valley Fair. Managing the Fair was a year-long undertaking for that favorite 10 day event. He enjoyed coordinating farm and livestock exhibits and FHA/FFA club projects, actively supporting 4-H clubs all over the Valley, judging Garden Club events, arranging fine art and folk art competitions, and putting on the best fair in the Southeast every October. He had the safest midway and the best Free Acts, showcasing many now-famous performers in their early days. He loved the midway because he loved having fun and seeing others have fun. He rode and checked all the rides before the fair opened. He loved taking his grandchildren and others to Six Flags and other wild animal, sea life, adventure parks, and gardens all over the world where he had the opportunity to share God's creation and man's inventions. He loved being a soldier and gave many volunteer hours serving military organizations, as well as regularly "adopting" soldiers at Ft. Benning who had no family nearby. He was always proud to show Columbus visitors all the military memorials and museums first, before the other attractions. He supported youth sports, followed the Atlanta Braves hardly missing a game on TV. He had a green thumb as an avid gardener, judged annual Flower Shows, was a member of several garden Clubs. On his daily 3-mile walk he could be seen stealthily weeding gardens and pruning bushes for older citizens and young working couples. He found new opportunities everywhere and took all of his responsibilities seriously. His family history in Columbus dates back to the 1800's when his great-great grandfather, Francis Joseph Springer, came to Columbus with a love for the arts and eventually built the Springer Opera House, later recognized as the State Theatre of Georgia. Memories of the Springer Mansion are noted by historical signs in the Weracoba area of town and several generations of Arthur's relatives are buried at Linwood and Parkhill Cemeteries. He left Columbus only to serve in World War II, to serve in Talladega, Alabama, and most recently to live with family and receive nursing care in the South Atlanta area. In addition to professional honors, Arthur received many as a volunteer. He was chosen as Businessman of the Year and Boss of the Year by professional groups and was consistently nominated for honors. He worked on many committees uniting various groups in his community. He had a special place in his heart for the police who worked at the Fair and protected his municipality. He was a member of many military support organizations. He supported principled politicians who were on the right side of issues. As a younger man, his strong baritone singing voice was requested for many weddings and special occasions, and he sang at the top of The Singing Christmas Tree into his seventies. He performed on the stage of the Springer Opera House as a baritone soloist at the same time that his then future bride was performing as an acrobatic dancer, and several other times throughout his life, acting and singing in talent shows and musical productions. Arthur is survived by his younger brother Charles Philip Springer of Gulf Breeze, FL; his three children, Carol Springer Dayton of Jonesboro, GA, Arthur G. (Gerry) Springer, III & wife Rita of Gulf Shores, AL, Mimi Springer Howe & husband Rob of Columbus, GA; his 7 grandchildren, Michael L. Dayton & wife Susan of Gig Harbor, WA, Bruce R. Dayton of Lakewood, WA, Daniel Darby & wife Hatice of San Antonio, TX, Ann Dunbar & husband McGavock of Birmingham, AL, Phil Springer & wife Beth of Gulf Shores, AL, Emily Howe Ward & husband Leroy of Columbus, GA, and Lydia Howe of Columbus, GA. He was blessed with 8 great-grandchildren with more to come. There were many others who considered him a father, and many other relatives and friends who adored him including niece Janet Sue Gibson Gray & husband Gordon of Smyrna, GA and their three sons, Gibson & wife Catherine Gray of Winston-Salem, NC, Taylor & wife Lizz Gray of Atlanta, GA, and Shafer Gray of Atlanta, GA, nephew Jerry Murray & wife Virginia of Columbus, GA, Michael Reich & wife Kay of Meridian, MS, nieces Nancy & husband Kay Slayden, Susan Davidson, and Janet Vance. Art loved building business and personal relationships, gardening, singing, mentoring, tutoring, and supporting the military. His Christian faith sustained him, even in his recent paralyzed condition, as he knew "that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to God's purpose." (Romans 8:28 ESV) The family will receive visitors Thursday, April 4th at McMullen Funeral Home, 3874 Gentian Blvd, Columbus, GA between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. Celebration/Funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church, 212 12th St, Columbus, GA in the main sanctuary at 2:00 pm Friday, April 5. In lieu of flowers, contributions would be appreciated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Donations may be made online in memory of Arthur Springer. Details for contributions will be available at the church and McMullen Funeral Home. Those who wish may sign the on-line guest registry at www.mcmullenfuneralhome.com. McMullen Funeral Home will direct.
Published in The Daily Home on Apr. 4, 2013
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