William Graham Ponder Sr. died on October 13, 2013, at his residence at Marsh's Edge on St. Simons Island. He was 89 years old.
Mr. Ponder was born in Rutledge on November 5, 1923, the son of Paul Holloway and Mary Graham Ponder. He attended Emory University and graduated from Clemson University. He was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and served in the U.S. Navy
during World War II
Mr. Ponder married Adelaide Wallace in 1948. He was a cotton broker until he and Adelaide bought Madison's weekly newspaper, The Madisonian, in 1957. He became the publisher and Mrs. Ponder the editor of the progressive and award-winning newspaper, which helped guide Madison and Morgan County through both tumultuous and flourishing periods over the next four decades, during which time Madison became known as one of the best small towns in the United States.
Mr. and Mrs. Ponder were also editor and publisher of the Lake Oconee Free Press. Mr. Ponder served as president of the Georgia Press Association, as secretary-treasurer of Greater Georgia Printers, as a charter member of the Atlanta Press Club. He also served as president of the Madison Kiwanis Club and the Morgan County Health Association. He was involved in many civic activities and played an integral role in the development and beautification of Madison and Morgan County. He served on the Madison City Council, was a member of Madison Investment, and he and Mrs. Ponder were actively involved in the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
Mr. Ponder was a founding member of the re-establishment of the Episcopal Church in Morgan County, as well as the purchase and renovation of Advent Episcopal Church. He served as senior warden for many years and was known for his leadership and beautiful floral arrangements in the church.
In addition to his other work, Mr. Ponder was a rural mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service for nearly 30 years. He and Mrs. Ponder retired to St. Simons Island in 2007. Mr. Ponder had a great joy for life, family, friends, and nature.
Mr. Ponder was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Mary Graham Ponder; brother, Paul Ponder Jr.; and brother- and sister-in-law, Barrett and Anne Wallace Walker.
He is survived by his wife, Adelaide Wallace Ponder, of St. Simons Island; daughters, Anne Ponder (Charles) Young, of Madison, and Mary Graham Ponder (Jim) Foster and Douglas Ponder Suto, of St. Simons Island; and son, William Graham (Dana) Ponder Jr., of Atlanta. His grandchildren are Beth Tamplin (Arthur) Jones, of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; Mary Anne Tamplin (Hano) Leathers, of Nashville, Tenn.; Harold David (Rachel) Tamplin Jr., of Wimberley, Texas; William Suto, of San Diego, Calif.; Ponder Suto, John Suto, and Graham Foster, all of St. Simons Island; Adelaide Ponder, of Atlanta; and Darla (Dan) Pennington, of Madison. His great-grandchildren are Evan and Adelaide Jones, of U.S. Virgin Islands; Charles, William, and Raine Tamplin, of Wimberley, Texas; and Dustin Pennington, of Madison. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Margaret Nix Ponder, of Atlanta; brothers-in-law, William (Joanne) Wallace, of Atlanta, and Leonard Wallace, of Madison; and dear friend and "adopted granddaughter," Rachel Barnes, of St. Simons Island.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, at Marsh's Edge on St. Simons Island.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 25, at the Church of the Advent Parish Hall.
Another memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 26, at the Church of the Advent, with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church of the Advent, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, the St. Simons Land Trust, the Hospice of the Golden Isles, or a charity of the giver's choice.
The family would like to express a special appreciation to Mr. Ponder's caregivers, Gloria Spaulding, Jackie Mitchell, and the staff of The Retreat at Marsh's Edge.
Golden Isles Cremation Center, Brunswick, is in charge of the arrangements.