Hugh Kenneth Tollison passed away on May 15, 2017 at his residence in Fernandina Beach, Florida. He was born on August 2, 1924 in McCrae, Georgia and raised in Vidalia, Georgia. His college education was interrupted when his nation called during World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps (which later became the U.S. Air Force) and ultimately served as a nose gunner on a B-24 Liberator, flying dozens of missions in the southwest Pacific. At the end of the war, he returned to Auburn University where he graduated in 1947. WAR DAMN EAGLE!
After a brief return to Vidalia, Georgia, he moved his family to Brunswick, Georgia to pursue a business opportunity as the manager of WGIG radio station. He was actively involved in the community serving in various capacities with several civic groups and organizations. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Brunswick, Chairman of the Brunswick Housing Authority and a founding charter member of State Bank and Trust which later merged with American National Bank in 1960, where he continued to serve on the Board of Directors for thirty five years. His broad spectrum of businesses ranged from automobile dealerships to real estate development to manufacturing to retail and construction, as he owned or operated numerous businesses throughout south Georgia and north Florida. “Hopefully, with more winners than losers”, he would often quip. As one friend described him decades ago, “Hugh is a serial entrepreneur”.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. Jesse Lawton Tollison and Mrs. Nettie Jones Tollison, his brother Robert Lawton Tollison and the mother of his children, Mrs. Phyllis Shank Tollison. His survivors include his loving and devoted wife, Sammie Smart Tollison, of Fernandina Beach, Florida, his sister, Jean Tollison Moses, of Vidalia, Georgia, his daughter, Pamela Tollison Melancon (Ron) of Poplarville, Mississippi, his son Hugh Kenneth Tollison, Jr. (Carlotta), of Brunswick, Georgia and his son Lawton Lee Tollison (Mitzi) of Brunswick, Georgia. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Hans Trupp (Buffy) of Vancouver Island, Canada, Austin Trupp, (Stephanie), of Evans, Georgia, Hugh Kenneth “Trip” Tollison, III (Tracey), of Savannah, Georgia, Leigh Tollison Veal (Zachry) of St. Simons Island, Georgia, Maggie Tollison Rhodes (Gray) and Sassy Tollison Temples (Joe), both of Darien, Georgia and his great grandchildren, A. J. Trupp, Thomas Veal, Hugh Kenneth “Hank” Tollison, IV, Ella Bunn, Baron Trupp, Lula Tollison, Smith Veal, Trey Bunn, Cole Trupp, Eliza Veal, Manu Trupp and Charlie Rhodes. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Patsy Jenkins (Bob), Sandra Ashington-Pickett (Michael) and Judith Smart Meece (John “Bro South”), all of Orlando, Florida and Kathy Jo Smart, of Fernandina Beach, Florida. Also by numerous nieces and nephews and an absolute gaggle of friends.
He will be fondly remembered for his love of family, his loyal friendships, his zest for life, that engaging smile, his contagious laugh and a core belief of never refusing to lend a helping hand to those in need. His enthusiastic and positive approach to life was quite intoxicating as was his knack for making everyone feel better about themselves. His hospitality was limitless and could only be surpassed by his generosity. Many people entered his doorway as strangers and departed as friends.
He shall be deeply missed by the multitude of lives that he continues to touch.
A visitation of family and friends will be held on June 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm at Oxley-Heard Funeral Home in Fernandina Beach, Florida. A memorial service will follow at 4:00 pm in the Chapel at Oxley-Heard Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, his family kindly encourages donations to the Community Hospice of Northeast Florida.