Special to SEGAZINE
Former Brantley County Magistrate Judge Huey Ronald Ham, 76, of Hickox passed away Monday morning (April 7, 2014) at his residence following an extended illness.
Huey Ronald Ham was born in Lulaton, Georgia on October 2, 1937 to Elias Oscar Ham (1908-1977) and Nancy Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jones (1912-2001).
Huey was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy “Dot” (Morgan) Ham; parents; paternal grandparents, Needham Vandy Ham and Eugenia “Genie” Wainright; and maternal grandparents, Everett Edward Jones and Margaret Elizabeth “Betty” Highsmith; and an infant sibling.
Huey finished high school in 1956, at Nahunta High School while living with his mother’s sister Eula Jean Jones, helping on the family farm that was settled by his great-grandfather Edward Benjamin Jones in 1880. After high school graduation Huey attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. On completion of Junior College in the spring of 1958 he transferred to the University of Georgia.
After a short tenure at UGA, He married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Morgan on 31 August 1958 and joined the U.S. Army, after basic training was assigned overseas to an artillery unit in Hanau, Germany. “Dot” joined him later that year. While in Germany Dorothy gave birth to Huey’s first born, Kathy Ham (Hendrix) 5-30-1960. Upon leaving the U.S. Army, serving 3 years, Huey returned to the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in Vocational Education in Agriculture. He taught in Brantley County school system in Hoboken initially. While Huey, Dot and Kathy lived in Hoboken, Ronald Edward Ham was born (7-27-1964). Huey’s job moved to the Brantley County High School in Caney Bay at the time of school consolidation. After Ronald was born Huey’s Aunt Eula gave him a home place on the Hickox family farm that Huey would run and where Huey and Dot would reside and raise their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for over 49 years.
Huey was very civic minded, and served in many capacities in county government; Rabies Inspector; 1968, Justice of the Peace, Hickox District serving 3 terms; and Chief Magistrate Judge from 1984-2000. He retired in 1990 with 30 years teaching Vocational Agricultural in the Brantley County school system and served his last 10 years as a full time Magistrate Judge. As FFA advisor for 3 decades Huey was father to many that needed one. In 1994 he was appointed to the Coastal Zone Advisory Committee, by Gov. Zell Miller. Huey was a charter members of the Brantley County Historical Society, as Vice President and later as President when the first Brantley County History book was published. Huey was instrumental in working with his lifelong friend Joe Sears to clear the pathway for the Bayview Nursing Home where 4 of his immediate family members would receive the best of care in their final days. He was a true public servant.
Judge Ham had a love of our local history. He has put in many hours of discovery, through reading, studying, traveling and many hours of physical labor. He was considered a local expert. He was the driving force behind the Geortner Mumford Library, Confederate Wall, and locating the cemetery where 40 or more Confederate Soldiers were buried. On the Confederate Wall which he built with bricks actually made in Waynesville, Huey placed a marble marker for each of his 4 great-grandfather’s who served in the Confederate cause; Needham Bathaway Ham, Noah Thomas Wainright, Edward Benjamin Jones and John Franklin Highsmith.
Judge Huey Ham has made many contributions to our communities with his connections he has in government. He served on the 6th Senatorial District for the Democratic Party, the Coastal Zone advisory Committee, Exchange Club, Airport Advisory Board and volunteer EMT in the early days plus many other positions.
Surviving is his brother Robert Garland Ham, his daughter and son-in-law, Katherine Marie “Kathy” (Ham) Hendrix and husband, James Fredrick “Freddie” Hendrix; a son and daughter-in-law, Ronald Edward Ham and wife Paula Renee’ (Cleland) Ham; grandchildren, Renee’ Rona (Roberson) Smith, husband Stephen Kristopher “Kris” Smith; Hilary Hope (Hendrix) Harris, husband Devin Andrew Harris; Elizabeth Renee Ham; Joseph Ronald Ham; great-grandchildren, Katlyn Renee’ Smith; Kirsten Ruby Smith; Kibrey Rose Smith.
A Visitation will be held Tuesday evening (April 8, 2014) starting at 6 p.m. at Frye Funeral Home, Nahunta.
Huey was a member of the Nahunta First Baptist church where his funeral service will take place on Wednesday (April 9, 2014) at 3 p.m., following a brief visitation from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., by Pastor Randy Carson and Speaker Al Perry.
Burial will be in New Hope Cemetery, Hickox, Brantley County, Georgia.
Pallbearers, Ernie Thomas, Andy Riggins, Andy Harris, James “Juke” Johns, David Royster, Jimmy Thomas, Alt. Randy Wainright, Alt. Ray Smith.