An engaged civic leader whose legacy will continue through his efforts to improve life in Dawson County died Thursday.
Edgar George David Jr., 84, will be remembered for his dedication to the community.
A decorated U.S. Army veteran who served in both Korea and Vietnam, David retired in 1971 with the rank of lieutenant colonel after a 20-year military career.
Three years later, he and wife Marie moved the family to his childhood home of Dawson County, where his ancestors had settled generations before.
"He loved Dawson County. It was in his roots," said daughter Dana LaChance.
David quickly became involved in the community, which he found perfect on so many levels but questionable on others.
"At the time, there was corruption in the county," LaChance said. "He believed in doing the right thing and he wanted to hold officials accountable."
He soon started openly discussing the issues he saw throughout the community.
Over the next couple years, those opinions resulted in fires set on family land, tacks and nails tossed into their driveway, heated confrontations and threats, according to LaChance.
But David stood his ground and continued to champion causes aimed at creating a better Dawson County for future generations.
In addition to serving on the boards of education, elections and equalization, David was an adviser to the Dawson County Homeowners Association and secretary-treasurer of the Dawson County Development Authority and Industrial Building Authority.
He also had served as chairman of the Dawson County Municipal Planning Commission, where he co-authored the first zoning rules and regulations for the county.
"He wanted to change the economic landscape of our county and to impact lives in a powerful way," said Brooke Anderson, general manager of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, of which David was one of the five founding board members.
"His vision and commitment to excellence created a tradition that continues in the authority today."
David was also a charter member of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and a longtime member of the Dawsonville Lions Club.
Along with his sister, the late Nancy Noblin, and a group of dedicated animal lovers, David helped establish the Dawson County Humane Society.
Without the help from the David family, the animal shelter would most likely still remain "a work in progress," said local veterinarian Brandon Mills. "His influence was extremely helpful to us."
David also was instrumental in creating the Dawson County Republican Party at a time when the county was considered primarily Democrat.
In 2008, he was recognized by the state with a Senate resolution commending his lifetime of achievements.
"He was certainly a lover of the county, a lover of the people and a lover and respecter of the land," said friend and former State Sen. Chip Pearson. "I don't think you could find anyone that is more a part of Dawson County than George.
"He was a great guy, a great American and a great Dawson Countian."
Survivors include his children: Jennifer C. David of Dawsonville; Dana and Ben LaChance, Claire and Garry Sharp, Melanie E. David Nelson and Dorian Elise David, all of Dahlonega; and David and Jean Carpenter of Duluth; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Sept. 25 at the First Baptist Church of Dawsonville with Dr. Jim Gaines officiating. Interment followed in the Dawsonville City Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Dawson County Humane Society, 633 Martin Road, Dawsonville, GA 30534; or the George David Jr. Junior Citizen Scholarship Fund, c/o Dawsonville Lions Charity, Inc., P.O. Box 408, Dawsonville, GA 30534.