Gary R (Ronald) Coley, 83, passed away at his home in Ball Ground, Ga surrounded by his loved ones on June 27, 2021, after a prolonged illness. He fought the good fight, finished his race, and kept the faith.
Gary was born at home in Ellenton, Georgia on August 24, 1937. He was the oldest of 7 children born to George Richard Coley and Agnes Felts Coley. He was raised in Hartsfield, Georgia where he attended primary school at Rose Hill School and finished his education as a 1955 Graduate of Moultrie High School.
After high school, Gary worked on a tugboat in Louisiana carrying equipment out to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. He was drafted into the Army in December 1960 and served three years, with his last station at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. While home on leave in June of 1962, Gary met and married Betty Fay Knox, who joined him in Alaska and became his lifelong partner and wife of 59 years. Gary received an honorable discharge and returned home to Moultrie, Georgia in September of 1963, where he and Betty welcomed their first child (Michael) in January of 1964. A few years later, in October of 1966, their second child (Pam) was born.
Over the next few years, Gary and Betty maintained a residence in Moultrie and Gary worked with his father at Coley Sing Service. Later he worked for a time at Wright Ford Motor Company and then became the operator at Patio Sing Service and Patio Package Store until 1975, when he and Betty opened their own business, Georgia-Florida Pools/B&G Satellites in Albany, Georgia. In 1982, Gary moved to Albany where he continued as owner of Georgia-Florida Pools/B&G Satellites until he retired in 2000. After retirement, he and Betty moved to Panama City Beach, Florida where they resided for the next 20 years. While in Panama City Beach, Gary was an active member of Gulf Beach Baptist Church and a popular fishing captain/guide primarily fishing out of Pirates Cove Marina.
In February of 2020, Gary and Betty moved to their current residence in Ball Ground, Georgia to be closer to their 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
Some other interesting facts about Gary that you may not know are:
- He coached youth basketball in Moultrie for a couple of years
- He was a well-known dirt track race car driver at Patten Speedway and Albany Speedway in South Ga
- In 1988, Gary became a grandfather when his first grandchild was born, and not too long after he was affectionately given the new name of “Gandy” by which he has been known to his family (especially the grandchildren and great-grandchildren) for the past 32 years
- He was an avid deep-sea fisherman and a well-known boat captain in Panama City Beach, where for several years in a row he was known as the “Snapper Slayer” for his fishing success and his knowledge of fishing holes in the Gulf of Mexico
- He enjoyed all kinds of music, but especially Country, Blue Grass, and Gospel
- He loved to garden…tomatoes, peas, corn, squash, okra, peppers were some of his favorites
- He liked a good joke and he shared his best ones with you on multiple occasions
- He was an extremely hard worker, a perfectionist, and a lifelong learner
Gary is survived by his wife of 59 years, Betty Faye (Knox) Coley. He is also survived by his son Mike Coley (wife Lori), daughter Pamela Roland (husband Keith), 5 Grandchildren Jacob Coley (wife Judy), Caleb Coley, Jessica Zauche (husband Brandon), Ryan Horne (wife Hillary), and Lauren Horne, and 4 Great Grandchildren Eleanor Rose Coley, Lucas Michael Coley, Liliana Sofia Coley, and Baker James Zauche. Gary was preceded in death by his father George Richard Coley, mother Agnes Felts Coley, brother Lee Coley, and sister Loretta (Coley) Lipsey. Gary is survived by his brother Stanley Coley, sisters Kaye (Coley) Parham, Mary (Coley) Daughtry, and Cleone (Coley) Boyd.
Whether we knew him as “Gandy”, “Captain”, “Snapper Slayer”, “Honey”, or simply “Dad”, he will be missed greatly by all of us, but his legacy and impact will live on in the hearts of his family and friends.