Gordon Hardeman Respess, 71, died Thursday, March 24, 2016 at his Lakemont home after a long illness.
Mr. Respess was born in Macon to the late Herbert Respess Jr. and Barbara Hardeman Respess, and grew up in Savannah. His philosophy was "old school," a man of his word, kind and helpful to others, and diligent and careful about everything he undertook from childhood until his last days. He liked the outdoors and working with his hands, whether with plants and trees or hand tools.
A University of Georgia graduate with a Bachelor of Science in forestry, he helped colonize the university's first Phi Gamma Delta fraternity chapter and put himself through college by working as a resident assistant and by earning a full U.S. Army ROTC scholarship.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation. At Fort Hood, Texas, he rose to the rank of captain and served as a 1st Armored Division tank company commander and an aide-de-camp to the company's commanding general before being assigned to the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam as a military advisor.
After military service, Mr. Respess worked in forest resources with Gilman Paper Co. in St. Marys and was key in developing the company's Osprey Cove golf and residential community. He was active in Rotary International, serving as club president in Camden County and also in district level positions. He was an elder at Riverside Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and joined Rabun Gap Presbyterian Church after moving to Lakemont in northeast Georgia in 2013.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Pacetti Respess; two sons, Gordon H. Respess Jr. (Sonya and their son Daniel Matthew) of Jackson and Joel Stephen Respess (Amanda and their daughter Anna Whitney) of Macon; one brother, Herbert Respess III (JoAnn) of Moore, S.C.; first cousins, Dr. Cynthia Schneider of Morehead, Ky., Beverly Schneider of Manhattan, Kan., Sue Conley (Mike) of Tallahassee, Fla., and Al Hatcher (Kathy) of Midway; and several nieces and nephews, and great-nephews and great-nieces.
A service led by the Rev. Don Barber will celebrate his life at 1:30 p.m. April 9 at Rabun Gap Presbyterian Church in Rabun Gap.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rabun Gap Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 333, 8397 North Wolffork Road, Rabun Gap, GA 30568.
Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA 30504, is in charge of arrangements.
Send online condolences to www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.