Obituaries: Emily Hogg Barba, George Donald Black, Mr. Leo Black, Mrs. JoAnn Shiflett Cantrell, Mary Louise Dixon, Mrs. Linda Fay Johnson, Johnny Ray Knight, Ms. Linda McConnell, Dr. Jonathan David Paxton, William N. Rucker Jr.

Obituaries: Emily Hogg Barba, George Donald Black, Mr. Leo Black, Mrs. JoAnn Shiflett Cantrell, Mary Louise Dixon, Mrs. Linda Fay Johnson, Johnny Ray Knight, Ms. Linda McConnell, Dr. Jonathan David Paxton, William N. Rucker Jr.

Myrtle Hill in Rome.


Mary Louise Dixon, age 80 of Rome, GA passed away on Thursday, January 7, 2020. She was born in Montgomery, AL on April 28, 1940. Daniel’s Funeral Home.

George Donald Black, age 85, died on January 5th, 2021 ending his battle with COVID-19, which he fought with courage and grace.

He was born in Emanuel County, Georgia, to George Alton and Runelle Johnson Black on April 29, 1935 and spent his early childhood in Jenkins County near Millen, Ga. He graduated from Jenkins County High School in 1953 and then entered the University of Georgia.

After two years of study, he joined the Navy where he specialized in Naval Aviation and surface fleet combat intelligence. While stationed in Norfolk, VA he followed a calling to the Ministry of the Church. Don enrolled in the University of Richmond to finish his college degree, where he met his future wife, Suzanne DuPuy. Following graduation, Don attended the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. He was ordained as a Deacon and later, Priest of the Episcopal Church. Don and Suzanne married on June 29, 1963.

Their first assignment took them to Norfolk VA and then soon thereafter to his first parish, St. James in Accomack on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. From there, he started St. Mathias Episcopal Church from an undeveloped five-acre lot in the suburbs of Richmond, VA – which now numbers over 700 members. His ministry next took him to Christ Church, Blacksburg, VA and then eventually back to Georgia where he led St. Peters Episcopal Church in Rome for 14 years. After “retiring” from active ministry he continued to serve other parishes in the area, to include Trinity Episcopal Church in Demopolis, AL and St. James in Cedartown, GA where he led this small parish for another 7 years.

Throughout his career in Ministry, he regularly returned to The University of the South to continue his studies and eventually earned a Doctor’s Degree in Theology. In 2005 Sewanee honored him with the prestigious DuBose Award, named for the founder of the School of Theology, for Distinguished Ministry in and for the Episcopal Church. Don devoted his life to serving the Church and its flock of followers, which he cared deeply for. He officiated countless baptisms, weddings, and funerals as he shared life’s most precious moments, good and bad, and was always there, to support his congregation and those in need. He loved music, football, golf and sailing but it was his friendships and family which he valued the most. He was his happiest when surrounded by one or the other.

Don is preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Suzanne Dupuy, and is survived by two sons and their families, Matthew and Sarah (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) and Edward and Elizabeth (Marietta); grandchildren Michael (Demopolis AL), Mason (Athens), Luke (Tuscaloosa), and Andrew, Emme, Meredith, and Mary Scott of Marietta. As well as his beloved companion, Marny Busbin.

Out of concern of safety for the community, there will only be a small family funeral service this Saturday and he will buried at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rome, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, gifts to St Peter’s Episcopal Church, in his honor, will be appreciated.

Daniel’s Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements.

Mrs. JoAnn Shiflett Cantrell, age 80, of Rome, GA, passed away on Thursday, January 7, 2021, at a local healthcare facility.

Mrs. Cantrell was born in Rome, GA, on July 15, 1940, daughter of the late Joe Brown Shiflett and the late Jewel Dean Taylor Shiflett.  In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by her loving husband, Hurschel Ray Cantrell, and by a grandson, Gregory Andrew Braden.  Mrs. Cantrell was a graduate of East Rome High School.  She was a homemaker who loved her family, pottery, and the occasional trip to any casino.  Mrs. Cantrell was of the Christian faith.

Survivors include her son, Tony Cantrell (Jackie), Rome; her daughter, Dawn Braden (Greg), Plainville; 5 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; her brother, James Benjamin “Benny” Shiflett (Penny), Rome; numerous nieces and nephews.

In accordance with her wishes, a private family graveside will be held at East View Cemetery with the Rev. Randy Lambert officiating.

Mrs. Cantrell will lie in state at Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel, on Monday, January 11, 2021 until 2pm.  The family will not be present but want to allow anyone who wishes to come pay their respects.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made in Mrs. Cantrell’s memory to the American Cancer Society at, or to the American Diabetes Association at


Mrs. Linda Fay Johnson, age 77, of Lindale, GA, passed away on Thursday January 7, 2021, at a local hospital.

Mrs. Johnson was born in Floyd County, GA on August 31, 1943, daughter of the late William Phillip Franks and the late Lois Josephine Hamby Franks.  Prior to her retirement, she had been an associate with the former Brackett Pharmacy and an Assistant Manager with Eckerd Drug Company for over 30 years.  She was a member of Eden Valley Baptist Church.  In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by 2 sisters, Alene Tant and Eloise Didrick, and by a granddaughter, Tamara Faye Johnson

Survivors include her husband, Billy Charles “Nicky” Johnson, to whom she was married in 1959; a daughter, Marjorie Findley (Nathaniel), Lindale; 2 sons, Joel Aaron Johnson (Debbie), Lindale, and Michael Anthony “Tony” Johnson (Susan), Rome; 3 brothers, Edward Franks, AL, Donnie Franks (Ann), Cedartown, and Leonard Franks (Pat), Coosa; 8 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 1pm at the graveside in Oaknoll Memorial Gardens.  The Rev. Mike Davenport will officiate. Her grandchildren will serve as pallbearers.

The family will receive friends at Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel, on Thursday from 11am until 12:15pm.

Emily Hogg Barba passed away on January 7, 2021. Daniel’s Funeral Home.

William N. Rucker Jr., age 77, formerly of Rome, Georgia, passed away peacefully at his home January 4, 2021. He grew up in Rome and went to Coosa High School where he lettered in four sports, all four years. He was an all-star running back where his football team went undefeated all four years. He went on to graduate from Mississippi State University in 1968 on a football scholarship. In 1978, he was nominated and named as an Outstanding Young Man of America. He received a Master’s Degree in Education, retiring after 25 years of faithful service teaching in the Knoxville area. He loved to sing and was a member of Madison Avenue Baptist Church Choir in Maryville, TN.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 56 years, Sandra Sharpe Rucker of Lindale, GA, and their three children; Michelle Murgatroyd, Jody Rucker and Colonel Jon Rucker. He is also survived by Jon’s wife of 25 years, Lauren Rucker, granddaughter, Lindsey Murgatroyd, grandson JW Rucker, brother, Jerry Rucker, and sisters, Debbie Esslinger and Annette Peace. Bill was a beacon of light for everyone he met. He was a wonderful husband, father, friend, and mentor. He will be missed and forever be in our hearts.

A graveside service will be held at Flint Hill Cemetery, Aragon, GA, January 9th, at 2:00 pm EST. Daniels Funeral Home 901 E. 2nd Ave., Rome, GA has charge of the arrangements.

Johnny Ray Knight, age 68, passed away on January 7, 2021 in a long-term care facility located in Carrollton, GA.

Mr. Knight was the son of the late James Raymond and Bobbie Nell Roberson Knight. He was born on September 17, 1952 in Contra Costa County, California, during which time his father was serving in the military at Travis Air Force Base.

He is survived by one brother, Jimmy Knight (Kathy) of Cave Spring, GA, one niece Lori Knight Kilgo (Mike) of Euharlee, GA, and one nephew John Knight (Jamie) of Leesburg, AL. Three great nieces, one great nephew, several aunts and uncles, and many cousins also survive.

Graveside services for Mr. Knight will be held Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 2:00 P.M. at the Rehoboth Community Cemetery. The following gentlemen will serve as pallbearers: Jimmy Knight, John Knight, Mike Kilgo, and Jarrett Kilgo. The families will be at their respective residences.

John House’s Cave Spring Chapel.

Dr. Jonathan David Paxton, age 38, of Rome, GA, passed away Thursday afternoon, January 7, 2021.

Jonathan was born in Rome on May 17. 1982, son of David Earle Paxton and Kathi Young Paxton Knott. He was a graduate of Rome High School and Life University. Jonathan received his Doctorate Degree in Chiropractic from Life Chiropractic College in 2008. He was a second-degree black belt holder Tae Kwon Do and loved playing video games. Jonathan was a member of the Georgia Chiropractic Association and the American Chiropractic Association.

Jonathan is survived by his parents, Kathi (Dennis) Knott, and Dr. David (Terri) Paxton, all of Rome; brother Dr. Joshua (Jessica) Paxton of Ringgold, GA; sister, Jasmine Paxton of Rome; nephews, Caleb, Elijah and Isaiah Paxton.

Funeral services for Jonathan will be held on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel of Salmon Funeral Home with Rev. Keith Gunter and Barry Garland officiating. Private interment will be in Oaknoll Memorial Gardens.

Jonathan’s family will receive friends at Salmon Funeral Home Sunday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. until the service hour. The family has requested everyone wear masks and observe CDC social distancing guidelines.

Pallbearers are asked to meet at the funeral home on Sunday by 2:30 p.m. and include William Esther, Craig McDaniel, Dr. Tom Morgan, Wally Mason, Ronald Walker and Aaron Fortenberry.

A special thank you from Jonathan’s family to the Doctors, Nurses and staff of Floyd Medical Center their excellent and attentive care for Jonathan and his family.

Ms. Linda McConnell, age 71 of Rome, Georgia, passed away on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at a local hospital.

Homegoing service is incomplete, but will be announced later by Wright Memorial Mortuary.

Mr. Leo Black, age 87 of Summerville, Georgia, passed away on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at a local hospital.

Homegoing service is incomplete, but will be announced later by Wright Memorial Mortuary, Inc.

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