Former Bryan County Commission Chairman Carlton Gill died Monday. Gill, 78 and the man for which I-95 in Bryan County is named, was remembered Tuesday as a public servant who made Bryan County a better place. He served on the Bryan County Commission for 18 years, first as a commissioner from 1973 to 1980 and then as chairman from 1981 to 1992.
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter said Gill, “was an excellent example of an honest, hardworking Christian, and his impact on our community is deep. In whatever he was involved, whether it was church, his family, or the Bryan County Board of Commissioners, his tireless leadership served as an example of the kind of person we all strive to be. A great many families in Richmond Hill have eaten vegetables from his garden, and countless children have enjoyed hay rides with Mr. Carlton driving us all over town in his old hay truck. His was a life well lived.”
Gill’s eventual successor, Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger, said Gill’s passing “is a great loss for our community.”
“I got his advice at times because I valued his opinion,” Infinger said. “There are a lot of good things in this community that were put in place because of his vision.”
Former Bryan County Public Works Director Derrell Newman said he “had the pleasure” to work with some 25 commissioners during his long career with the county.
“In my opinion Carlton was at the top of the list,” Newman said. “He was a good, God-fearing man and a benefit to the county. He was for the safety and prosperity of Bryan County and for anybody who came into the county.”
I-95 in Bryan County was designated the L. Carlton Gill Highway in 1998 after state legislators passed a resolution introduced by former state Rep. Anne Purcell, which in part read “whereas, (Gill) is a person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness,” and noted Gills’ years of service to the county and “his remarkable patience and diplomacy, his keen sense of vision and his sensitivity to the needs of the citizens of his community.”
Newman, who retired in 2015, said he’ll miss Gill.
“I’m going to miss him. Everybody in the county should miss him, but I know I will,” Newman said.
CARLTON GILL OBITUARY
Carlton Gill was born on December 22, 1940 in Savannah, GA and chosen by God to go to his eternal home on February 18, 2019.
Carlton was known by many as a kind and gentle man with big hands and a big heart who gave the best hugs. As husband, father, and Papa he served, loved, and provided for his family well. His life is a legacy of faithful service to his God, family, church, and community, of generosity that he shared with so many, and of integrity that was evidence in all that he did. He was known as a man of big stature, big love, big generosity, big values and big fields to plant and harvest. He loved God’s creation and enjoyed many rides on family land, looking at and checking on birds, flowers, trees, roads, and his cattle.
He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1963 with a Master’s degree in Forestry. He played basketball for the Georgia Teacher’s College, Georgia Southern College and the University of Georgia. He served as a County Commissioner of the 20th GMD for two terms, as County Commissioner Chairman for three terms and as the ACCG President from 1982-1983. He was employed at S.A. Allen for 37 years (1964-2001) as a procurement forester. A portion of I-95 in Bryan County was dedicated to him in 1998. He served in church leadership as a deacon and elder at Compassion Christian Church. He was a member of many other civic organizations and leadership boards.
He is preceded in death by his parents Louis C. Gill, Sr. and Ella H. Gill; a sister, Mary Gill; and a nephew, Freddie Bevill.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years Joy B. Gill; daughters, Zandy Wilbanks (Mark), Carlyn Longgrear (Bo), and Heather Gill; grandsons Tripp and Lance Longgrear; and granddaughters Maddie and Lexie Wilbanks and many extended family members.
Visitation will be Thursday, February 21st, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m at Carter Funeral Home, 10512 Ford Avenue, Richmond Hill, GA 31324. Funeral services will be Friday, February 22nd, at 11 a.m. at Compassion Christian Church, 55 Al Henderson Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31419. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery, 1 Oak Hill Road, Richmond Hill, GA 31324.
Remembrances may be given to Africa Development Mission, 3565 Bixby Road, Groveport, OH 43125 or Global Servants, P.O. Box 740737, Orange City, FL 32774-0737.