David Massey, 74, died peacefully on May 23, 2013, at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. Having valiantly battled open heart surgery that had its ups and downs for about two months, he ultimately had to leave his beloved home in Gainesville, his log cabin in Blue Ridge called "Serenity," and his peaceful lake cottage in Canada that he named "Stillwaters" for an even better home in Heaven.
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David was born in Trion, Ga., on Sept. 3, 1938, and lived in this "ideal little town," as he called it, his whole life until he went to the University of Tennessee on a baseball scholarship. He had been a pitcher at Trion High School for the four years he was there and really enjoyed baseball. He graduated with a BS in Education, majoring in reading and English. He got a Master of Education from the University of Georgia and went on to receive his Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1996. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, the baseball teams of the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox wanted to draft him as a pitcher, but he wanted to teach school. He felt that would be much more rewarding than playing baseball. He wanted to instill a love for reading and education in every student he encountered, so he made this his life's work.
David devoted his entire professional life to education. He loved students and wanted them to be all they could be. He started his career as an English and reading middle school teacher in Summerville, Ga. He then taught reading in middle school in the Gainesville City School System and became director of reading there for many years. He became director of reading for the Hall County School System in July 1974, and then assistant superintendent for curriculum and planning, interim superintendent and when he retired in 2003, after 43 years, he was associate superintendent for instruction and assessment. He was admired by his peers for his intelligence, patience, knowledge of the field of education and willingness to help in any way he could and for the giving of advice to all who sought it. He was chairman of many committees that visited schools all over the state of Georgia for the Southern Accrediting Association of Colleges and Schools. He worked tirelessly to help school systems become accredited and be all they needed to be to help students get an excellent education. He was in demand as a speaker on many diverse educational issues in Georgia and in neighboring states and enjoyed this interaction with colleagues.
David enjoyed many diverse things. He loved to go to estate sales and antique auctions. He read everything he could get his hands on. He enjoyed sports whether playing them or watching them in person or on television. He liked bicycling and walking three to four miles a day on his treadmill. He was an avid photographer and never went anywhere without his camera. Words were a big thing with him and he loved to write on educational topics and about his memories of his boyhood days. After retirement, he became a freelance writer for his small town paper, the Trion Facts. His articles were so well received that many people wanted him to compile them into a book. Using his friend, the computer, which he hadn't really used much in his work but taught himself so much about, he wrote his first book complete with index "which was much bigger chore than writing the chapters themselves." Its title is "The Chili Wagon, Our Father God and Finger Coffin: Memories of Growing Up in Trion in the 40's and 50's." He titled his second book "Sweet Milk Once Upon A Time Tales of Life in Trion During the Days of Yore." He enjoyed writing these stories that he compiled for the books for the words quickly flowed from brain to finger because his recollections from those special days were startlingly clear. He loved Trion and all the wonderful memories that growing up there had given him during his boyhood years. He delighted in taking his son Chuck's telescope outside at night, and he and Chuck would look at the stars and planets in the night sky for long periods of time. This indeed brought father and son even closer than they already were. They did so much together in the 16 years Chuck lived and had so many memories to rely on when he died.
David was in many educational organizations as Gainesville/Hall Retired Teachers Association, Georgia Education Association and Georgia School Administrators Association. He was past president of the Lanier Hall Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International. He was also in the Phi Kappa Phi honorary society for education and in the Who's Who of Georgia Educators and Who's Who in American Education. He was a member of Gainesville First United Methodist Church and was on the first board of directors for the Methodist preschool.
David is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judy; brother, Terry and wife, Mary of Lafayette, Ga.; sister-in-law, Elsie Massey of Atlanta; brother-in-law, John Seidenspinner of Ontario, Canada; niece, Jennifer Massey; nephew, Chris Massey; and great-nephews, Chuck and Edward Fiske. He is predeceased by his son, Charles Burton Massey (Chuck); his parents, Burt and Martha (Rutherford) Massey; brother, Ed Massey; and niece, Wendy Fiske.
Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 24, 2013, at Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel in Gainesville, Ga. A celebration of his life will be held at Gainesville First United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Gainesville, Ga.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chuck Massey Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o North Georgia Community Foundation, 615 Oak St., Gainesville, GA 30501, or to Gainesville First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville, GA 30501.
Memorial Park North Riverside, 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501, 770-297-6200, is in charge of arrangements. Send online condolences to www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.
Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, Gainesville
Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home
2030 Memorial Park Road
Gainesville, GA 30504
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on May 24, 2013