J. Mac Barber, 91, died Sunday, December 7, 2008, in Macon.
Born in Banks County, he grew up in Commerce, and was the son of the late William L. and Susan K. Barber. Mr. Barber was preceded in death by his wife, Janette McGarity Barber; sisters, Marian Barber and Kathryn B. Gaultney; and brothers, William Ralph Barber and Dwight F. Barber. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology and was a veteran, having served in the United States Army during World War II.
Mr. Barber served in the Georgia Legislature from 1949 to 1973 as a representative from Jackson County Public Television in Georgia, the Fernbank Science Center and educational bills were among his major focus while serving in Atlanta. He served as Mayor of Commerce, Chairman of the State Committee on Education, President of Georgia School Board Association, President of Commerce Kiwanis Club, Chairman of the Board of Commerce First Methodist Church, Chairman of Jackson-Commerce Hospital Authority, President of Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Georgia Committee on Children and Youth, Governor’s Conference on Education and Jackson-Banks Chapter American Red Cross.
He was elected to five terms on the Georgia Public Service Commission where he served as Chairman. He was recognized by the Georgia Legislature for his efforts in protecting the rights of the consumer. Such organizations as the Georgia Association of Education, Georgia Science and Technology Commission, Emory University’s Kappa Phi Kappa Literary Society and the National Association of Retired People have recognized him as an advocate for the elderly, the children and the poor. He championed the extension of free telephone service across north Georgia.
Barber was honored for his accomplishments by the University of Georgia, Emory University, Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Youth Council, National Association of Retired People and the Georgia PTA.
Survivors include a niece, Angela G. Adams (Mrs. V. James Jr.), Macon; great-nephew, James Adams III, Macon; great-niece, Kathryn A. Brooks, Macon.
Memorial services will be held Friday, December 12, at 2 p.m., at the Commerce First United Methodist Church with the Revs. Hoyt A. Allen and David G. Bowen officiating. The body was donated to Emory University Medical School.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Commerce United Methodist Church, 54 Cherry St., Commerce, Ga. 30529, or the Janette M. Barber Professorship, Family & Consumer Science Department, 224 Dawson Hall, UGA, Athens, Ga. 30602, or the donor’s favorite charity.
Ivie Funeral Home, Commerce, is in charge of arrangements.