John Blakely Giles, Sr., 86, of Winterville, died Wednesday, November 12, 2008, at Cobb Health Care in Comer.
A native of Winder, he was the son of the late Pink Lamar and Katie Myrt Griffith Giles. He was a member of Winterville First Baptist Church, where he was a life deacon. He graduated from Winder High School in 1938, and was an officer in the United States Air Force Reserves. During World War II, he flew B-17s and C-147s, primarily on air-sea rescue missions.
After his active duty ended, he was a commercial pilot briefly before he was grounded when one of his eyes was scarred by a sickness. He then was station manager for Southern Airways in Athens, was manager of Athens airport, and became a Hertz-Rent-a-Car licensee.
He was formerly a member of the Winterville Lions Club, the American Association of Airport Executives, and helped raise money for the Athens YMCA facility built in 1967. He was active with the Athens-Clarke County retired employees association. He learned to make furniture and became an excellent craftsman, enjoyed gardening, both vegetable and ornamental, and also enjoyed golf, loved ones stated. Mr. Giles was preceded in death by his wife, Nell Giles.
Survivors include sons, Blake Giles, Athens, Bill Giles, Las Cruces, N.M.; sisters, Helen Deaton, Charleston, S.C., and Betty Ann Patrick, Winder; grandchildren, John Giles III, Lawrenceville, Laura Garrett, Mt. Airy, and Emily Giles, Royston; and a great-grandson, Jack Garrett, Mt. Airy.
Memorial services will be held Friday, November 14, at 2 p.m. at Winterville First Baptist Church with the Revs. Drs. Jim Akins and Rick Standard officiating.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home Thursday, November 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., and at the church following the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Heart Ministries of Lavonia, or a charity of choice.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, East, Athens, is in charge of arrangements.