Lester G. Maddox
1915 - 2003
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Former Gov. Lester Maddox dies at age 87

By TOM BAXTER and BILL MONTGOMERY
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writers

Lester Maddox – the restaurateur who became a symbol of segregationist defiance and then Georgia governor in a fluke election – died this morning at an Atlanta hospice. He was 87.

Family members confirmed his death at 1:59 a.m. in a statement released through Gov. Sonny Perdue's office.

Maddox – who had battled cancer since 1983 – cracked two ribs when he fell about 10 days ago at an assisted living home where he was recovering from intestinal surgery.

He later developed pneumonia and was placed in an Atlanta hospice.

Maddox will be remembered as one of the civil rights era's most unusual characters.

Maddox was a born showman, selling fried chicken and voicing the raw reaction of whites to desegregation with equal gusto. He used every trick from riding a bicycle backwards to playing the harmonica to stay in the public eye, and sold souvenir copies of the pick handles infamously used to drive would-be black customers from his restaurant.

It was largely an accident of the turbulent desegregation era that Maddox became governor in 1967. He used the office as a national stage for his right-wing views, but showed a progressive side in his approach to issues such as prison reform.

With his bald pate, round glasses and prominent ears, Maddox was a ripe subject for cartoonists. He even tried his hand at show business after leaving office. But he had an important role in the state's history: the transition from Maddox to Jimmy Carter marked the decisive turning point in Georgia's response to the racial questions that had been lingering since the Civil War.

While Maddox articulated a potent mixture of both racial and class resentment, which made him a major figure in Georgia, he never was taken as seriously nationally as his contemporary, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, said Merle Black, a professor of political science at Emory University.

"(Maddox) seemed milder once he got in office. He really hearkened back to the idea of political activity as a form of entertainment and showmanship," said Black, co-author of several books on Southern politics.

Becoming an anachronism

But unlike Wallace, Maddox never asked to be forgiven for things said and done during the height of the South's debate over race. To the end, he remained a true believer in himself.

"For some in government, I did ruffle a few feathers and proved to be a thorn in their flesh. However, that was their problem, not mine," Maddox wrote in his later years. Maddox, the only Atlantan to serve as Georgia's governor, served from 1967 to 1971. He might have been elected to a second term had the state constitution then allowed governors to succeed themselves. Instead, he settled for lieutenant governor from 1971-75, leaving little doubt that he would try to regain the governor's office.

However, quieter times and the changing electorate made Maddox an anachronism in four years, and he lost his 1974 run for governor. The Democrat followed that with a brief fling in 1976 as a presidential candidate under the banner of the American Independent Party.

Not content to stay on the sidelines, he attempted a comeback in 1990 at age 74, finishing a distant last in a field of five in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Though long out of politics, Maddox was still courting attention as recently as September 2001. The then-86-year-old wrote a letter urging state legislators to reject any effort to return straight-ticket voting to Georgia. The effort didn't pass.

In his final years, struggling with ill health and financial problems, Maddox became an example of how to face adversity with courage and pluck.

Try, try ... and try again

Born in Atlanta, Maddox sold newspapers and peanuts on the streets. During the Depression, he once said, "I didn't have any socks to wear to school, and the holes in my shoes were patched with cardboard."

His father lost his job and their home, so Maddox dropped out of Tech High School to work full time. He was a $4-a-week drugstore soda jerk, a delivery boy, an apprentice dental technician and a stock boy at a jewelers' supply house.

His father paid $25 for a shed, which he hauled away from a golf course, and the younger Maddox set up a vending stand in the front yard, selling soft drinks and penny candy.

In 1945, with $400 in savings, Maddox opened Lester's Grill, a combination short-order eatery, ice cream parlor and general store at the corner of 14th and State streets. He ran it for two years.

On Dec. 7, 1947, he started a new enterprise that would become his trademark. It was the Pickrick Restaurant on Hemphill Avenue, near Georgia Tech.

The food became a drawing card, and so did Maddox. He mingled with customers, poured their iced tea and shared their gossip.

His political ambitions germinated at the Pickrick. They were fertilized by white discomfort over the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education, and the civil rights revolution it helped ignite.

Maddox's early ventures into the political arena as a hard-right conservative were unsuccessful. In his first race, for mayor of Atlanta in 1957, he lost to incumbent William B. Hartsfield. He lost to Ivan Allen Jr. for mayor in 1961 and he finished second to Peter Zack Geer, another segregationist, in a field of nine seeking to be lieutenant governor in 1962.

Maddox was branded a perennial loser. An incident in 1964 changed that.

In the wake of the Civil Rights Act desegregating public accommodations, three Atlanta activists sought to integrate the Pickrick Restaurant. They were met by Maddox, holding a pistol, and friends wielding pick handles. A photo of the incident, published in newspapers, made the nervous little businessman a nationwide symbol and a hero to segregationists.

Winning the Governorship

Maddox closed the restaurant soon after and began running for governor as a no-compromise segregationist.

Former Gov. Ellis Arnall, trying for a comeback, led in the primary, 231,480 votes to 185,762 for Maddox and 164,562 for Jimmy Carter. Arnall won a plurality, but not a majority as required by a 1964 law.

In a runoff, Maddox scored one of the state's biggest political upsets, 433,055 votes to 373,004 for Arnall. Republicans could vote in the Democratic runoff, having no primary of their own, and many backed Maddox because they considered him an easier target for their candidate, Howard "Bo" Callaway. In the general election, Callaway received 453,665 votes to 450,626 for Maddox. But there were 45,603 write-in votes for Arnall, meaning Callaway did not have a majority. The election was turned over to the Democratic state Legislature, which on Jan. 10, 1967, elected Maddox governor, 192-66.

Maddox surprised many. His term was free of corruption, and critics discovered a side to their new governor they could not have discerned from his rhetoric: a genuine caring for people and their problems, regardless of color. Four black escapees from a south Georgia work camp paid a surprise visit to Maddox at the Governor's Mansion; the result was a Maddox-ordered investigation of the state's prisons.

One of the best-known remarks of his administration came when he observed that, to fully implement prison reform, "We're going to have to get a better grade of prisoner."

The new governor got teachers a 25 percent raise and took on local corruption in southeast Georgia's Long County, ordering billboards erected that warned drivers of speed traps in the area.

At the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Georgia's votes were contested between regular delegates led by Maddox and state chairman James H. Gray and, on the other hand, a slate led by state Rep. Julian Bond, who said the Maddox delegation had but a 2.01 percent representation of Georgia blacks. The credentials committee proposed a split delegation. Maddox refused, and walked out. Maddox remained a vocal foe of "race-mixing" and "black radicals," but appointed more blacks to state boards and commissions than all prior governors combined. He named 38 blacks to local draft boards at a time when only two had ever been appointed before and named the first black member to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

During those years, Georgia experienced an economic surge as national firms flocked to locate here. Maddox let stand 1968 state legislation sought by the city of Atlanta permitting alcohol sales at the airport. Maddox opened the doors of the governor's office to the common folks, with weekly "Little People's Days." Families of prisoners seeking aid for their loved ones, job-hunters, welfare recipients, complainers, cranks and the curious – black and white – sought Maddox's ear. Some called it a publicity stunt, but entree to the state's highest official undeniably humanized state government.

These gestures sparked talk of a "new Maddox," but in truth he never shed his gut-level beliefs in racial separation, free enterprise, anti-communism, fundamental Christianity and moral absolutes. He banned miniskirts in the Capitol, insisted that male members of his staff have their hair cut above their ears, and summoned staff members to his office each morning for Bible-reading and prayer.

Maddox never made peace with the journalistic world that defined him, and in fact seemed to thrive on his lifelong feud with what he called the "Media-Led Political Establishment." His official portrait, which hangs in the Capitol, features a photo of his beloved wife Virginia, and a copy of The Atlanta Constitution wrapped around a fish.

Barred from succeeding himself in 1970, Maddox considered running his wife for governor, as Wallace had in Alabama four years earlier. Instead, he became the first Georgia governor to seek the office of lieutenant governor.

Maddox kept in the news with frequent rhetorical blasts – at Gov. Jimmy Carter, communists and liberals. He warbled bird calls, ordered the Atlanta newspapers' boxes removed from the Capitol grounds and rode a bicycle backwards in parades. In 1970, he walked off the Dick Cavett Show after author Truman Capote called Maddox's supporters "bigots."

The 1974 governor's race was in a sense a referendum on Maddox and his unique political style, and most Georgians had had enough. He led a large field in the Democratic primary but lost to state Sen. George Busbee in a runoff.

During the 1976 presidential campaign, Maddox trod the snowy paths of New Hampshire as the candidate of the American Independent Party. He futilely urged Democrats not to vote for Jimmy Carter.

"They assured me I'd be on the ballot in 45 states and they'd have $250,000 for the campaign. I got on the ballot in 19 states and left (the AIP convention in Chicago) with $3,000 I raised myself."

Maddox received 170,000 votes for president. Carter won and moved into the White House.

Failed ventures after office

Maddox was left with $300,000 in debt from his presidential campaign. He reopened the Pickrick Restaurant and a souvenir shop in Underground Atlanta. The old success returned briefly, then fizzled.

So Maddox took a brief stab at show business, a nightclub song and instrumental routine in which he teamed with Bobby Lee Fears, a former Pickrick kitchen worker. "The Governor and the Dishwasher," as the act was called, had a taste of the big time in New York and Miami, but it never caught on. Maddox turned to real estate, operating Lester Maddox Realty from his east Cobb County home later known to many for the billboard memorial erected to his wife, who died in 1997. At one point, creditors seized all but one dollar of his bank account.

"None of this would have happened if I hadn't been elected to public office," he said later. "But I'm not sorry. If I had it to do over, I'd do it all again."

A $250-a-plate barbecue in 1981 attended by more than 1,000 people raised enough money to retire the last of the Maddox's debt. His later years were marked by ailing health. Maddox said he had been battling cancer in one form or another since 1953 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer after years of smoking cigars.

"Life has been great, and I'm living off precious memories now and what God has promised me for the future," Maddox said in an interview just before Christmas 2001. "I thank God for every breath and heartbeat."

Maddox is survived by four children, Lester G. Maddox, Jr., Linda Densmore, Virginia Carnes and Larry Maddox; 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jun. 25, 2003.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Larry & Anna Maddox
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View Printed Guest Book
392 entries
September 29, 2018
marty hall
December 6, 2015
Remembering this man who really tried to make a difference in this world.
Carol Martin Brooks
June 25, 2011
I wrote a paper on Governor Maddox for my American History class at York U.in Toronto back in 1981. I used the book he wrote as a basis for my paper. The paper put the Governor in a positive light, even though the professor was a leftist, he gave me a favorable mark. As all the notes in this guest book show, Gov. Maddox was a man of impeccable character.
Ted Paul
May 17, 2011
I knew Lester Maddox's son Larry when he was first running for Governor. I got to spend time with the Maddox family and learned how decent, hard working and loving they were. I wish peace for all the children and grandchildren of this great man and his sweet precious wife.
Carol Martin Brooks
February 15, 2011
I remember in the mid 1960's visiting my parent's friends Harold "Haldy" and Betty Wilson who lived next door to him somewhere near or on Howell Mill Road. My brother and I have tried to remember how to get to that house to see if the Wilson's are still there but can't...anyone know where Gov Maddox house was around 1967-1969? Please email it to me...gjoyg@yahoo.com
Gayla Griffith
February 13, 2011
I think Lester Maddox was a great man he was a prison reform person he helped me very much I used to live on tumlin st right behind the pickric and went swimming with Larry Maddox at Piedmont park manny years ago
Ralph Crittenden
February 25, 2010
My mother had governor Maddox sign a bible for me when I was small, he came to the Baptist Tabernacle to speak when I was a little girl (I am 50 now). I still have the bible. My parents also would go to the Pickrick after church.
G Staples
June 20, 2006
When Robert E. Lee passed, they said that no one would ever approach his greatness. Mr. Maddox showed that this was not so. He was of the same order as the Christian General. Let us be comforted in the fact that even though he is gone, there may be more like him in the future. He loved everyone, whether black, white, or otherwise. What he deplored was being forced into political conformity. Rest in peace, dear man, and may your spirit of courage endure in those of us who remain and are yet to be born.
Donna S.
May 19, 2006
Governor Maddox was a great educational governor.
Erma Killings
July 27, 2005
I remember as a small child going to the Pickrick on Sundays for lunch after church. Lester, his family and all of his employees were wonderful to me and treated me just like one of the family. My father grew up with Lester and he would often sit at the table with us during dinner. I only wish that I had been old enough to remember their stories. They were both "characters" that I will never forget. As an adult, I admired Lester for the courage that he had to stand up for his convictions even though I did not always agree with him. He was a wonderful and true American.
Joenne McLendon
May 14, 2005
I remember Governor Maddox visiting Atherton Elementary School in the mid to late 60's. He signed my "autograph book" that I still have after speaking at a PTA meeting. He also signed an ax handle that still is around. It's funny how some things stick out in your mind.
Alan Loper
April 6, 2005
One of a kind that brought and gave hope for so many. A true Christian that through his caring love of a lovable wife (Virginia) left an example for many to follow.

Former State Representative Frank & Frances Bailey
Clayton County, Georgia
Former State Representative Frank Bailey
January 21, 2005
May you RIP. You came to my Kwanza celebration at Fort Valley University. Thank you and bless your family.
Robin culver
January 6, 2005
I will always have the memory of Gov. Lester Maddox as the man who opened the state to employment for all. I was with the first group of Black employees at GDOT (Dept. of Transportation then) who were hired in the engineering offices. Thanks to Gov. Maddox and Comm. Hal Rives a diverse workforce was created and the Georgia Government took great steps to being equal and fair. Bless you Gov. Lester Maddox for the opportunities you gave to all Gods'children.
Charles Atkinson
July 21, 2004
It was a joy to have know Gov. Maddox. He was a true believer. May he and Virginia both rest in peace.
Pat Dickinson
March 15, 2004
When I first started out at the State of Georgia as an employee, I was always impressed with the [then] Lt. Governor who would come into the old cafeteria and pick a table of employees to sit with. He started his conversations with "Well, how y'all doing?" And he Listened. Black/white/purple, it did not seem to matter, he was interested in the running of the state offices and he was interested. Just as he had listened as Governor and did such a spectacular job of organizing the state government.
Over the years, I would introduce visitors and new residents to Lester and his dear wife at his place at Underground. He never met a stranger.
After my Mother passed away and my Dad mourned her daily, I chanced to drive through a northern suburb and saw a sign that looked like my Dad could have written it- it was later I found out the Lester missed his life-partner as much as my Dad missed his.
For all of the misinformation and poor image Lester had to put up with, I was felt better reading some of these tributes to the man. I had gotten to know that he was smart, kind, and understanding. Things the press could not show when they put pictures of him riding his bike or selling his pick handles.
Not many colorful politicans around the Gold Dome anymore, and certainly, none like Lester!
I now know of two husbands who are reunited with their sweethearts.
MF Cleveland
February 18, 2004
Da Nang South Vietnam in 1967 was not a nice place to be. The USO at China Beach was a place to go to forget about the war for a short period of time.

As a young military troop I read a letter on the bulletin board in that USO, from the Governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox. I was not from Georgia, but was very impressed that Governor Maddox had taken the time to write to all the military members serving in Vietnam, thanking them for their service to their country.

I was impressed because no other governor had done this and his was the only official of any kind with a letter to the troops like this on that board.

When I was assigned to Dobbins AFB upon returning from Vietnam the thoughts of that letter was uppermost in my mind. Like most ordinary citizens I never expected to thank the governor personally for his thoughtful letter to us in Vietnam.

One holiday many years later as I watched a parade I saw the former Governor Maddox riding in an open car and once more thought of the letter he had written so many years ago.

I decided to call him at his home and thank him personally for writing the letter. I was surprised that he answered his phone and after I told him who I was and why I was calling we both had tears in our eyes as we spoke of his kindness so many years before.

I am very sorry for his family's loss of this very kind, gracious man. I will always remember him for the encouraging words he gave to the ones of us serving in combat for this country.

A Vietnam vet
George Martin
February 6, 2004
me and my husband use to go and eat at the pickrick , the food was wonderful. i use to watch lester as he surved everyone coffee and tea. he was a very humble man, i watch him as he would start the old player piano and it was beautiful. i don't want to forget his wonderful wife, virginia. they came to our church reunion years ago and he and his wife were nice people. we will miss them dearly.GOD BLESS the family.
marlene faith
January 29, 2004
Many years ago when I was just out of high school; some members of my church and I went to the Pickrick to eat. The fried chicken was delicious. Although I have lived in Florida for many years I always tried to follow what Lester Maddox and his Virginia were doing. I always wished the best for them and their family. I was sorry to read about your loss. I lost my sister last July who lived in Georgia and my oldest brother in October who lived with me in Florida. It was a hard year but God is there for us. God bless the Maddox Family.
Joyce Parks Wright
December 24, 2003
Gov. Maddox was a very nice and friendly Southern Gentelman. He shook my hand as he was drumming up votes for his election to the Office of Gov. His contributions were many and his humor was everlasting. I, as well as many other Georgians will miss him...
Greg Land
December 22, 2003
May God Bless the Densmore family in the loss of their father and grandfather. Linda, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Hugh Singletary
Hugh Singletary
December 15, 2003
As a Chiropractic student at life, I heard much of Gov. Maddox's support of Life University and am thankful for his work and support of Life. From Perth, WA, Australia, I am sorry for the families loss.
Christopher Randall
October 11, 2003
Debbie Trantham
October 6, 2003
I started my career working with the State in 1965 and have recently retired from State service. Governor Maddox was one of the Governors during my tenure with the State and I remember him well having worked in the "old" State Office Building (now the Legislative Office Building) across from the Capitol. I remember him riding a bicycle backward on the Capitol lawn. He was a man of conviction and will long be remembered as he takes his place in Georiga history. Thanks Govenor Maddox for your contributions to Georgia.
Gloria Burroughs
August 12, 2003
I was and still am a state employee when Gov Maddox served and I was very proud of him then and I am proud of him now. He could always tug on my heart strings when it came to his honesty and down home values. God blessed GA when he was born.
Faye Pugh
August 9, 2003
I pray God's blessings on the Maddox family.
Tony Scott
August 5, 2003
Lester Maddox was a true Christian, a fine governor, a wonderful family man - true to his wife & family. He cared about people & wanted them to be treated right. He was a very honest man!
Maybelle and John W. Cross
July 22, 2003
TARA,

I'm sorry for your family's loss. I know how much your grandfather meant to you and your family. Now he is with your grandmother smiling down upon you. My regrets. Tracy
TRACY HYDER
July 11, 2003
On the occasions I walked to the State Capitol, I would look up over the captiol dome and see that beautiful REAL Georgia Flag (1957) flying, and, be proud of it -- and,thankful that Our Almighty God had given unto us our gracious Governor Lester Maddox. But, the most-impressive thing about Lester was that during these prayer meetings and reading of The Holy Bible, I would glance over at him --LISTENING. He was not the "center of attention" nor doing all of the talking -- but, listening . I am glad I campaigned for him as he ran for Governor in 1966 -- and, voted for him in the General State Elections that November -- to lead MADDOX COUNTRY ! He was a humble Born-Again Christian, a Genuine Southern Gentleman, kind, caring -- and, a "doer of The Word", not a hearer only ! Such images of Lester will remain, forever, with me. In Heaven, I hope to see him, again ! Heavens gain is Georgia's loss -- there will not be another like Lester Maddox !
Roy Kendel
July 9, 2003
Lester was such a great man. He lived very close to me and I would often see him at the Wal-Mart right across from where he lived on Johnson Ferry Rd. He will be missed.
Harrison McCulloch
July 8, 2003
Gov.Maddox left such a wonderfullegacy. I had the opportunity to met him several
times and I will always treasure
that. I was greatly moved by the
tribute from his grandson who recalled the many times they prayed
together. While he accomplished much as a public servant, nothing
can surpass a praying parent.
As a Bob Jones
University graduate, I also recall
fondly him receiving an honorary
degree from BJU.
M.Eugene Bustard
M. Eugene Bustard
July 7, 2003
May the family of Gov. Lester Maddox cherish his memories forever.

"Your loss is God's gain"
C Johnson
July 3, 2003
May each day, get sweeter than the day before!
Daryl Bridges
July 3, 2003
This is to express deepest sympathies to the entire family of Governor Maddox; may God bless and keep you in your time of sorrow.
Billy McFarland
July 2, 2003
My mother (who is also deceased) often ate lunch at the Pickrick Restaurant way back in the 60's. She met the delightful Lester and loved him. I know this is a crushing loss to your family. He is with his beloved Virginia now and is happy and well. I loved and admired him more than words can describe. My deepest sympathy comes to you in Jesus' holy name.
God bless you.
Carolynne Cort
July 2, 2003
I am so sorry for your loss. I have met him several times over the years and he was a great man! He was also a hoot! Condolences!!
Patricia Mills
July 1, 2003
Goodby to a great Governor and a Christian. He was a man that wasn't ashamed to tell anyone that he met that he was a Christian. We got to talk to Gov Maddox and Virgina in their home and both were very friendly people.

We need more Governors like him. He was the one that got "Stay and See Georgia" going. He will be missed.
Charles Martin
July 1, 2003
I went to elementary and high school with Lester, Jr., and lived right across the street from the Maddox family on Tenth Street. I extend my deepest sympathy to all of the Maddox family. It is never easy to lose a parent, especially the last parent. Lester, you are in my thougts and prayers.
Catherine Root-Grist
July 1, 2003
I met Lester Maddox when I was about 8 years old at Crecent Park skating rink in Marietta, Ga. Around 1969. I went to the Governors mansion for Christmas one year and saw him ride his bicycle backwards, and Governor Maddox grew up in the same community as my Dad, affectionatly know as Punkin Center. He sometimes attended the neihborhood reunions held there at Loring Heights Baptist Church. Governor Maddox was an ordinary man who treated everyone else like they were extraordinary.
Jeff Boring
June 30, 2003
Lester Maddox was a big part of my early childhood, and a very special part of that childhood has just passed away. I am deeply saddened by his death. A true southern gentleman will be missed by all.
Nancy Richards
June 30, 2003
Lester Maddox was a good honest man.He was the best Gov. Ga. had or ever will have. He is now with his Virginia. Please accept my sympathy.
Janice
June 30, 2003
Our prayers go out to the Maddox family. We pray God would comfort and encourage you during this time of grief. Glenn and Michele Martin
Glenn Martin
June 30, 2003
I shall never forget the day as a young trooper standing next to the stairs in the rotunda when along you came. I ask how had you been and you jumped up, clicked your heels together and said, "Just dandy." Your are just dandy today.
Larry Welch
June 30, 2003
You had a great Dad and now you have one more reason to go to heaven.
Donna Hill
June 30, 2003
Deepest sympathy to the Maddox family, but greatest joy in knowing Governor Maddox is with Jesus right now. The funeral was the most touching I had ever witnessed. Thank you for having it televised.
Tammy
June 30, 2003
The Honorable Lester G. Maddox was a man of honor and a true southern gentleman. He was a man much aligned but GOD knows the good deeds he performed and knew that he was a true Christian, this is what is everlasting in eternity.

He did not receive his due rewards here on Earth but he will in Heaven.
Frances Albert
June 30, 2003
May you rest in peace
Elbert Rivers
June 30, 2003
It's PickRick for you, Mr. Maddox. Now you have joined Mrs. Maddox and friends in heaven. You will be missed here on Earth. I wish I just had the opportunity to see and talk with you just one more time and express how much gratitude I have for your support back when my Mom(Louise Rogers-Red Haired Cashier) and brother(Bruce Rogers) worked for you at the PickRick. You fed me and my family during hard times and when I came to meet my Mom at the end of the day, you always played the piano for me and had the bird talk to me. It was a thrill of a lifetime. To Larry and Lester Jr., your Dad and Mom are now where they can visit my Dad and Mom. May Love and Peace be with you.
Debbie Killingsworth-Dawsonville,GA
Debbie Killingsworth
June 29, 2003
My late husband, James L. Harrison, Jr., considered Gov. Maddox one of his truest friends -- and the feeling was mutual. I visited Gov. Maddox twice in recent years and often talked on the telephone with him. He was a gracious man. Now he is with his dear wife, Virginia.
Mary Harrison
June 29, 2003
Governor Maddox, you will be missed.
When my wife and I opened up the Dairy Queen restaurant near Merchants walk in East Cobb way back in 1987, you would come in about every week or so and get your medium ice cream cone, You would stand and chat with us for a little while and sometimes you would even dance a little jig for us.Your personality was as colorful as your career. We love you, God Bless you and your family.
Geoff Brosy
June 29, 2003
So Sorry About Your Father
Although you will miss him and long for his presence and all of the warm family times that you had..
Just try and remember through all your sorrow you have every reason to smile and be glad.. You wouldn't be feeling exceptional sadness if you hadn't had an exceptional dad.
With Sincere Sympathy
Mildred & Jack Witcher
Mildred & Jack Witcher
June 29, 2003
Thank God that Governor Maddox was willing to share his faith in Jesus with others.
Phillip Sanders
June 29, 2003
The Honorable Lester Maddox family:
He was a great governor and a great person.So was his wife,she was a real lady.They both are missed already,and I am so sorry we've lost
them.My sympathy to you all. I will never forget them.
Alma Bryant
June 29, 2003
WE HAVE LOST A GREAT MAN I WAS A VERY YOUNG GIRL MY DAD WORKED FOR MR MADDOX AT THE PICKRICK RESTURANT AND HAD THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING THE WHOLE FAMILY MY SISTER JEAN MARRIED LESTER MADDOX JR. BUT MR MADDOX WAS ALWAYS THERE FOR ANY ONE THAT NEEDED HIM. I REMEMBER WHEN MY DAD PASSED AWAY JUST AFTER HE BECAME GOVERNOR MR MADDOX TOOK ME HOME WITH THEM AS I WAS YOUNG AT THE AGE OF 13 TO TALK TO ME ALL ABOUT MY OWN DAD AND WHAT A GREAT MAN HE WAS. IT HAD BEEN SOME YEARS SINCE I HAD SEEN MR. MADDOX AND I WAS WORKING FOR A SIGN COMPANY AND AS SOON AS HE WALKED IN THE DOOR HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID HELLO LITTLE MISS DUTTON. HE WAS A FINE MAN AND SO HIS WHOLE FAMILY LESTER JR. LARRY, GINNY & LINDA WE ALL KNOW WHERE YOUR DAD IS
PAT DUTTON WILKINSON
June 29, 2003
James Allen
June 29, 2003
God Bless you Gov. Maddox I have eaten in the Pickrick so many times as a child and remember you so well. My third cousin Donald is married to your daughter. You are surely going to be missed.
Beverly Glover Bailey
Beverly Gover - Bailey
June 29, 2003
I am a Black male. In 1974, I had been accepted to college but did not have the funds to attend. My Mom suggested I write Lester Maddox and ask for his help. I thought it was the most ridiculous suggestion but, with nothing to lose, I wrote him a letter asking for his help. Within two weeks, I received a letter personally signed by Lester Maddox with financial aid applications which I completed and submitted. My financial aid grant arrived on Saturday, Sept. 15 and I caught a Southeastern Stage bus to Savannah on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 16. Writing Lt. Gov. Lester Maddox was the best decision I ever made in my life. I only wished I'd kept that letter!

Byron D. Johnson
Byron Johnson
June 29, 2003
One of the few TRUE southern gentlemen !
Alan Taylor
June 29, 2003
I remember when Mr. Maddox was running for governor. After he was elected, I shook hands with him at the Pine Tree Festival in Swainsboro, Ga.; I was just a kid. May God Bless the Maddox family.
Patrick Pritchard
June 29, 2003
My deepest sympathy to the Maddox family. No words can fill the void that is in your hearts, but it will dull with time... I share your tears and pain...
SR Chandler
June 29, 2003
We will not forget what you did to honor our Confederate dead nor will we let this issue rest. You were a good friend and a fine Governor. I will look you up when I get to Glory. Jerry Wingate
Gerald Wingate
June 29, 2003
My condolences to the family of Lester Maddox. While living in Dunwoody and then Alpharetta in the 80s, I became friends with the Dinsmore family (Lester's daughter, son-in-law and grandchildrern). One of my last memories of Lester and Virginia together was at the My House restaurant in Roswell. The Governor his wife and I had a nice long chat before they had to leave. After they departed four ladies from New York, sitting at a nearby table, were astounded at Mr. Maddox's intellect, humor, and personality. Whereupon I told them that you couldn't believe everything you read in the paper about public personalities. God bless the family Lester and Virginia.
Rick White
June 28, 2003
Lester Maddox---the greatest Governor the State of Georgia has ever had. No political correctness here---he just told it the way it was. His Bible was well used and never collected dust---a book he lived by.
Ken Weimer
June 28, 2003
I wish to thank everyone who had a part in the service for Governor Maddox.

Although sorrowful at that thought of missing him, I felt much joy when reminded of where he is today and that he is reunited with those who meant so much to him. I was reminded of the source of his strength and courage that allowed him to continue to stand for right when others crumbled to the love of money, selfish ambition and the politics of the day. I was reminded that faith is not something you do once a week, but it is something you live daily in deed and word. Loving people is not just something you feel, it is something you do.

Governor Maddox is an inspiration to me in his concern for every person with whom he came in contact. I don't think he ever met a stranger or anyone that he didn't consider a potential friend. He always took time to respond with gratitude to anyone who showed him the least consideration, no matter how small. He was a humble man who became great by serving others. I thank God that gave us a man like Governor Maddox as an example of so many Christ-like attributes. What I have read here today indicates to me that his life was indeed a book of virtues which was read by so many.

I challenge every person who reads these comments to resolve anew to live a life as an example that others may follow. Trust in God. Do what is right. Leave the results to Him. It is the responsibility of each of us to leave a virtuous legacy for the next generation to follow.

May God continue to comfort and bless his family. I know He will.
Jim Cook
June 28, 2003
I met Mr. Maddox in 1972 on a trip to the Capital with my class. A friend and myself sat and waited for quite a while to see the man that we admired so much. It was worth the wait and he made us feel very special and important. Lester Maddox was such a great man and I feel such a loss. My deepest regards to his family at this sad time.
Ann Tyson
June 28, 2003
It was a great honor to know your Father. We both belonged to the John B. Gordon Camp # 46 Sons of Confederate Veterans and shared a fraternal brotherhood in the Masonic Lodge. He will be greatly missed.
David Barrett
June 28, 2003
We pray that "God" will be with all of you during the sorrow of the passing of your Dad.

May "God bless you.

Sincerely,

Marvin & Shirley Powell
Marvin & Shirley Powell
June 28, 2003
One of my heros. May Gods love be with his family.
ron corntassel
June 28, 2003
The Governor was a great American and a great Governor. Georgia is a better state because of him.God bless you all.
Jimmy Rhodes
June 28, 2003
Governor Maddox attended my aunt's funeral in 1969 in little Rebecca, GA. We met again in 1972 at the Y-Club Youth Assembly at the capital. Several years later he was present for a reception for a retiring educator. The last time I saw him was at the Sandy Springs Methodist Church's Anniversary attending a Gospel Sing with J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, and other gospel greats. He really loved those groups. He always remembered my family and was always gracious in his kind words for my uncle. We have lost a great Georgian and as another great Georgian, Lewis Grizzard would say, "A great American." God Bless and Keep the Maddox family.
Johnny T. Young
June 28, 2003
What a blessing it would be if we had more politicians like Lester Maddox to stand up for the “little people” and not let others take over our great country. Most of us are the “little people”. The others just think they are “big”. But in the eyes of God, we are equal.

I grew up in the Home Park area, ate at the Pickrick many, many times, and went to school with Linda and Virginia (Ginny).

I enjoyed keeping up with what Gov. Maddox was doing. He was a great influence on so many people. Everything’s Pickrick for you now, Mr. Maddox.

God bless all the family!
Faye Doss Kingsland
June 28, 2003
I remember Lester Maddox as an honest, God fearing man who loved all people the same.
Rodney Kent
June 28, 2003
I met with Gov. Maddox in the 1970's along with our director, two parents, and their mentally retarded child representing Cheerhaven School in Dalton, Ga.
I found him to be kind and considerate to our request.
joan anderson
June 28, 2003
DAVID BELLAVANCE
June 28, 2003
I remember when My husband worked for Lester Maddox in the Pickrick Furniture store,my husband being Al McLendon,Mr.Maddox always had pray every morning before the store opened.My husband had won a trip to the Bahamas for selling the most furniture.We lived in College Park at the time.So Mr.Maddox paid my way so I could go with my Husband.My husband also had the pleasure in seeing Mr.Maddox when he visited Vidalia ,he was riding his bicycle in a parade and stopped and talked to my husband.I still have the picture that was in the Vidalia Advance..He will be missed by all. May God Bless The Family.
Willa McLendon
June 28, 2003
My grandafather was my best friend. He was a man who loved everyone no matter what race you were. He taught me how to love my wife deeply one day if God ever blessed me with one, just as he did my grandmother. My best memory of my grand-father was he was the only man in my life that i never had to ask to pray over me. He either did it or asked me too. That showed me that he was proud of me and loved me deeply. I will miss my best friend and the talks of pain and joy he let me share with him. I will miss most of all everytime that i can remamber he wept as he prayed over me. Good Bye! Best friend and granddady i will see you again one day.Your with the one you loved most Christ our Lord
Larry Joseph Maddox
June 28, 2003
Lester Maddox was the most wonderful person I have ever known other than the LORD JESUS and my mom.he was a Christian and a person that was always there for me. He was a security for me and a help in all phase's in my life. I LOVE HIM AND MISS MY DAD VERY MUCH
Larry Maddox
June 28, 2003
GREAT CHRISTAN MAN gREAT GOVERNOR
Robert Strickland
June 28, 2003
MAY GOD BLESS THE FAMILY AND KEEP YOU STRONG. SORROW ABOUT YOUR LOSS.
Henrietta Bradley-Kellam
June 28, 2003
I remember when I was about 10 or 11 years old my family would go to the Governor Maddox's Restaurant and eat. My memory of Governor Maddox was the way he could ride a bicycle. I tried to ride mine backwards one time and hit a mailbox. God Bless all of you. Governor Maddox was a very wonderful man.
Sharon Foster
June 28, 2003
Good bye Lester may you rest in peace with our Lord.
Robert Yates
June 27, 2003
I have two memories of Gov. Maddox.. two I will never forget.

When I was 12 years old, my 7th grade class visited the capital like so many did back then. I remember the two headed snake upstairs.. and the picture of my class being taken with Gov. Maddox which included not only my class and my teacher.. but also my grandfather.. the last day I was to spend with him alive.. for he passed a few weeks later...

The second memory I had was driving down the interstate in a school bus on our way to a football game, and seeing him in the car next to us. We all hung out the windows and waved as he called out to us to win. I dont remember if we did or not.. but in truth we did.. we gained a wonderful memory..

God bless you Gov. Maddox.. you and your beloved Virginia
Laura Prince
June 27, 2003
I grew up with your political career,your were a true American.My deepest sympathy to your family. God bless.
Pam Thompson
June 27, 2003
Lester was a controversial figure in many aspects, but his love for his wife, family, and "his" Georgia was prominently evident. His smile was a firm but gentle one and it will be missed.
My prayers are with the family at this time. Lester was unique. May he rest in peace and join hands with his beloved Virgina.
GOD BLESS
JOY EASTLING
June 27, 2003
My first memories of Mr. Maddox was in my early childhood. After church on Sunday's, my family would go to "The Pickrick" for dinner. What great food!!
You were truly a great Statesman, great friend to all, and a devout Christian. Indeed the state of Georgia will miss you.
Sandra G. Campbell
June 27, 2003
Dan & Wilma Wright
June 27, 2003
Tycia Fife
June 27, 2003
We will miss you God knows the best now go home and take you long due rest.
Caorl Curry
June 27, 2003
As a tour guide at the State Capitol I always enjoyed talking about the official portrait of Gov. Maddox. I would tell visitors how endearing it was that he chose to have his wife's picture in this formal portrait. As evidence of Gov. Maddox's whimsical nature and his sense of humor, a rolled-up copy of The Atlanta Constitution, containing a fish, can be seen! My condolences are extended to the family.
Janet Harris
June 27, 2003
Governor Maddox was an extraordinary
person living in extraordinary times. The Viet Nam War, Atlanta with the riots, George Wallace trying to divide the democrats and
this person was the only true person
that we had that was true to himself as he was to us.
He was a giant living among us and
he will be missed.
Steve Mayfield
June 27, 2003
My mom worked for the State of Georgia under Gov. Maddox's administration. She always said what a good, decent, Christian man he was and how much he loved his wife and family. Isn't that what its all about. I had the pleasure to meet him and Virginia when I was a child at his store in Underground Atlanta. He was very personable and genuinely kind. God bless him as he joins his beloved wife Virginia in heaven. And God be with his children as they lay their Daddy to rest. I have done it and its tough. Peace be with God.
Beth Caudle and Margaret Elkins
June 27, 2003
My grandfather thought very highly of Gov. Maddox. He reminds me of my grandfather in his beliefs and strengths. I am so thankful to have witnessed, personly, someone so strong and steadfast in their beliefs.The family should take great comfort and pride in such a wonderful example to follow. Sincerely, Teresa Barrett
Teresa Barrett
June 27, 2003
WITH DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILY OF ONE OF THE FINEST MEN I HAVE KNOWN. HE HAS BEEN A FRIEND OF MY FAMILY FOR MANY YEARS. HE LIVED WHAT HE BELIVED AND NEVER MISTREATED OR BELITTLED ANYONE, ALWAYS SAYING UPLIFTING WORDS. HE WILL SURELY BE MISSED. GOD BLESS.
E. THOMPSON
June 27, 2003
Lester: I would have loved to see your face when you saw Virginia coming to welcome you home.

I will always remember your Christlike spirit and your sense of humor. You are one of the kindest men I've ever met.

I know that our Lord Jesus will comfort your children and loved ones as they grieve here on earth.

You have gone home.

Y'all have a "happily ever after" now and don't forget the fried chicken.
Ann Turner
June 27, 2003
I had the honor of meeting Gov. Maddox some years ago when he came down to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to place "Memorials" for his dear mother and his beloved wife, Virginia. Since that time we have had some wonderful conversations and I came to know what a truly caring and loving person he was and what the people of Georgia meant to him.

I had the pleasure of working on his obituary that appeared in the AJC. Since he wrote every word himself, it was almost as though we were having one last conversation together.

God bless you, Gov. Maddox. I will miss hearing from you.

Joan Gibbs
Douglasville, GA
Joan Gibbs
June 27, 2003
you were a good man. itshowed in your love of God and Virginia. my prayers go out to you and your family
grace clark
June 27, 2003
God bless you and your family.
beverly mcbrayer
June 27, 2003
Govenor Maddox never used focus groups or spin doctors. I don't think honest people need them. He will be missed.
Phil Burgess
June 27, 2003
I DON'T HAVE ANY WORDS THAT WILL TAKE AWAY THE SORROW, BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I CARE.
GOD BLESS THE FAMILY
BETTY SINGLETON
Betty Singleton
June 27, 2003
You have my deepest sympathy keep looking up for your strenth .And always keep God first at every thing you do.
kechia williams
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