Ronald Bo Ginn

Obituary
  • "Dear Julie, Casey, and Bryan(Bo Bo), What a joy it was..."
    - Brenda Clarke Baker
  • "Julie - I was saddened to learn of the death of your..."
    - Becky Nichols
  • "So sorry to hear of the loss of one of the finest men I had..."
    - Chris Jeselnik
  • "Dear Casey, Julie and Bryan, I just wanted you all to..."
    - Lisa Grumbles Ordway
  • "I was very sorry to hear that Bo had passed away. I..."
    - Matt Mashburn

Augusta - Ronald Bryan (Bo) Ginn, who served as First District U.S. Representative from 1973-1983, died Thursday, January 6, at University Hospital in Augusta. Ginn had been under treatment for cancer and died from complications of viral pneumonia. He was 70. Ginn, known affectionately throughout his life as "Bo," was born in Morgan, GA. He was considered a champion baseball player as a youth, but was stricken by crippling polio as a teenager and was told he would never walk again. Surgery, long months of therapy at the Warm Springs Foundation, and a strong determination allowed him to leave his wheelchair. This experience and the encouragement from others ultimately led him to a career in public service. Ginn attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton and graduated from Georgia Teacher's College (Georgia Southern University) in Statesboro. Upon graduation, he taught high school in Douglas, Ga., and then was appointed director of member relations for Planters Electric Membership Cooperative in Millen. He came to Washington in 1961 as chief aide to U. S. Rep. G. Elliott Hagan, and then served as the chief aide to U.S. Sen. Herman E. Talmadge. In 1971, Ginn returned to Georgia to resume a career in business and to explore the prospect of running for Congress. He was elected in 1972, and served five consecutive terms representing the First District, encompassing 20 counties in the southeast section of the state, including all of the Georgia coast. In 1982, he launched a campaign for Governor of Georgia, in which he led the field of 11 candidates in the Democratic Primary, losing by a narrow margin in a run-off election to Joe Frank Harris who went on to serve two terms as Governor. Ginn was widely regarded as one of Georgia' s most popular Congressmen during his ten years of service. He easily won re-election for five terms without significant opposition. Upon winning his party's Primary in 1972, Ginn's Republican opponent withdr ew from the race. First District Republican leaders held a caucus to fill the last-minute Republican vacancy. As a testament to Ginn's rising star, Georgia Republican leader Howard "Bo" Callaway sought to have Ginn accept the 1972 Republican nomination for the Congressional seat, accentuating Ginn's ability to cross party lines in a bi-partisan spirit. Former U.S. Rep. Doug Barnard, a Ginn friend since the 1960's, said Thursday, "Bo had a rare combination of skills. He had a deep and genuine love of direct service to his constituents, and he also had a masterful knowledge of how to wield power in the Congress for the public good. He was popular at home, and popular with his Congressional colleagues, and he used his influence to do a lot of good for a lot of people." At the time of his retirement from Congress, Ginn had become a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations, and was chairman of the powerful Military Construction Subcommittee with authority for U.S. military ba se construction world- wide. He had sought the Appropriations Committee assignment after fighting off the near-closure of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in the early 1970's, and used his committee position to preside over a massive construction program for the Stewart- Hunter facilities that would later become the home base of the 3rd Infantry Division. Ginn is also credited with facilitating the construction of the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County, and led Congressional efforts to bring the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) to Glynn County, which is now the county's largest employer. In addition, he was a staunch advocate for MARTA in Atlanta, and an ardent supporter of national interests that brought jobs and economic development to Georgia such as Lockheed's C-5 A aircraft program. Ginn also was an early leader in environmental preservation issues in Georgia. He was the prime author of legislation that led to a protected wilderness designation fo r the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the Blackbeard Island and Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuges, and large portions of Cumberland Island National Seashore. Ginn was preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Gloria Averitt Ginn. He is survived by two daughters and their husbands, Kacy Ginn Jones and Ricky Jones of New Orleans, LA; Julie Ginn Moretz and David Moretz of Augusta, GA; a son and his wife, R. Bryan Ginn Jr. and Caroline Ginn of Evans, GA; a sister, Dr. Pat Moody of Lexington, SC; and a brother, Mike Ginn of Morgan, GA; and seven grandchildren, Andrew Jones, Matthew Jones, Lee Moretz, Morgan Moretz, Daniel Moretz, Bo Ginn Ill, and Carson Ginn. Visitation will be held 7:00-9:00 p.m. Saturday, January 8, 2005 at Crowe-Fields Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 9, 2005 at The Millen Baptist Church in Millen, GA., where Ginn made his home before moving to Augusta in 1995. If so desired, memorials may be directed to the Children' s Heart Program at the Medical College of Georgia, c/o MCG Foundation, 919 15th Street, Augusta, GA 30912; The Bo and Gloria Ginn Political Science Scholarship, Georgia Southern University Foundation, PO Box 8053, Statesboro, GA 30460; or Friends of the Millen Cemetery, c/o Steve Burke, 1104 East Winthrope Avenue, Millen, GA 30442. Crowe-Fields Funeral Home, Inc. Savannah Morning News, January 8, 2005 Please sign our Obituary Guestbook at www.savannahnow.com
Published in Savannah Morning News on Jan. 8, 2005
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