Family-Placed Death Notice

GILLILAND, Thomas Mr. Thomas Candler Gilliland, age 65, formerly of Blairsville, Ga., passed away Sunday, March 31, 2013, at Athens Regional Medical Center. Mr. Gilliland was born January 22, 1948, in Atlanta, to the late Sarah Candler Gilliland and Jason Brown Gilliland. He graduated from the Westminster Schools in 1966, and thereafter attended the University of Georgia, where he graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor's Degree in History in 1970. At UGA, he served as President of the Honors Program student body, was a member of Chi Phi fraternity, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and was a Rhodes Scholarship nominee. Mr. Gilliland then attended Emory University School of Law, earning his J.D. in 1973. As a lawyer, he would continue a family tradition of service to Georgia extending back to the colonial era. Mr. Gilliland practiced law in Atlanta for twenty years. Consistent with the streak of independence that would typify his career, he left a major firm to co-found Howard & Gilliland in 1976. He later became a Partner at Hurt, Richardson, Garner, Todd and Cadenhead. In 1980 he co-authored Fifth Circuit Truth-in-Lending: Consumer Loans Secured by Real Property, published by Harrison Publishing Company. He married Mary Candace Wansley in 1982 and spent the remainder of his life with her at his side. Mr. Gilliland was closely involved in public affairs throughout his life, serving as Chief of Staff to Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard and as a close advisor to countless officials. He helped to shape and enact important legislation, including Georgia's first ethics bill and a measure to establish much-needed medical clinics in remote sections of rural Georgia. As the HOPE Scholarship neared passage, he helped shape the language of amendments to Georgia's constitution to ensure that state legislators could never raid lottery funds. He was a thought leader on legislative issues pertaining to the banking industry, from the Sarbaines-Oxley Act to Dodd-Frank. Throughout his life, Mr. Gilliland was drawn to the north Georgia mountains, home of his grandfather, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Thomas S. Candler, who was among Mr. Gilliland's strongest role models. In 1986 he assembled a group of investors to launch People's Bank in Blue Ridge. He repeated the pattern at other locations, eventually merging the group of banks with Union County Bank, creating United Community Banks. He and his family moved to the mountains full-time in 1994, where Mr. Gilliland served as President of the bank in Blue Ridge, Chairman of the Board of United Community Bank North Georgia, and eventually as Executive Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of United Community Banks, Inc. In that capacity, Mr. Gilliland helped steward the bank's growth as it expanded to become the third-largest bank holding company in Georgia. He retired in 2008. Mr. Gilliland served his community throughout his life, including tenures on the boards of the Honors Program of the University of Georgia, Atlanta Hospital's Hospitality House, the Georgia Affordable Housing Corporation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Truett-McConnell College, Young Harris College, and numerous civic associations in Fannin County. He served as the President of the Callanwolde Foundation in Atlanta, as Chairman of Fannin County's Civic Center Committee, and as Chairman of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's Transition Committee. He was appointed by Gov. Roy Barnes to serve on Georgia's Y2K Task Force as well as the Stone Mountain Authority. Gov. Sonny Perdue reappointed Mr. Gilliland as Chairman of the Stone Mountain Authority in 2005. In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Gilliland to a four-year term on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment in 2008, making him the first Georgian ever to serve on the TVA's board. (Continued to next column)

Funeral Home

Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Services
3195 Atlanta Highway Athens, GA 30606
(706) 543-7373

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Apr. 3, 2013