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William POPE

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POPE, William William Alexander Pope, 95, of Atlanta, Georgia died at home Tuesday, March 5 with his family around him. Born in Washington, Georgia in 1918, he maintained a residence there his entire life: "Pembroke" which the family had acquired in 1820. A man of wide interests and accomplishments, he is most remembered for his generosity and kindness. After spending his youth in Washington, he left in 1935 to attend Emory University in Atlanta at his mother's insistence. She believed the much closer University of Georgia "too wild for William," as he later explained. While at Emory he joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and remained a devoted brother for the remainder of his life, becoming "the oldest SAE in the world," an honor that humored him greatly. William graduated from Emory with a degree in Electrical Engineering in what is thought to be the last class to complete that degree; Emory discontinued the engineering program soon afterwards. He joined General Electric immediately upon graduation, working in the headquarters in Schenectady, New York, for nearly a decade. William was granted exemption from actively serving in the military during World War II as a result of the security clearance earned by his section at General Electric. That section became known to history as "The Manhattan Project." Working on the bomb sight for the atomic bomb was so secret, according to William, that even he did not know its intended use. Upon leaving G.E. shortly after World War II, William returned to Washington to join his father, Pembroke Pope, in managing the family's extensive forest and agricultural holdings. For the nearly four decades that William lived back home in Wilkes County, he was an honored citizen, attaining frequent recognition for his selfless community service. William and Ginna married in January 1973. William adopted Tom and Ridley, Ginna's children from a previous marriage. Their son, John Hill, now deceased, was born in 1977, and in 1981 their daughter, Elizabeth Barnett, was born. In 1985 the family moved permanently to Atlanta. William Pope will be remembered as a person to whom integrity meant everything. Throughout his life his consuming passion was to leave more than he found in any relationship. The accolades and honors meant nothing if there was not a benefit to everybody associated with him. Survived by his loving wife, Virginia Inglesby Tison, his son Thomas M. Clarke, III (Jill) of Atlanta, his daughters Ridley Bemis (John) of Houston, Tx., and Elizabeth Smithgall (Jason) of Atlanta. Grandchildren Emily, Tom and Robert Clarke of Atlanta, and Robert and Anna DiBenedetto of Greenwood, Sc., and many more loving relatives. A memorial service for William Pope will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church located at 634 West Peachtree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308. Please send donations in lieu of flowers to All Saints Episcopal Church at 634 West Peachtree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Mar. 7 to Mar. 8, 2013
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