After a long and fruitful life of 99 years, Harold Storey, longtime native of Rome, Georgia, and decorated World War II veteran, community servant and church leader, died at his home, midday Sunday, November 21, 2021.
Storey was recognized for a lifetime of leadership as the recipient of the Heart of the Community Board of Governors’ Award in 2000, and 1 of 6 recipients of the Heart of the Community Award in 1994.
Leadership became a way of life for him during his military service, after graduating from University of Georgia (UGA) early to enlist. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries and the Silver Star for bravery when as the lone remaining officer of 4 he reorganized and rallied his remaining troops to cross the Moselle River under fire and take the French town of Metz before proceeding as Captain of Company C, 10th Infantry, Big Red One into the bloody Battle of the Bulge where he was injured in the snows of Luxembourg.
After recovering in England, he was tasked with developing a Wharton-like Business preparation school in London for soldiers delayed from returning home and American life. He was featured in Tom Brokaw’s third book, Letters of The Greatest Generation.
Upon returning to Rome, he joined the family business of S. I. Storey Lumber Company, where he shared leadership with his parents and brother, Bernard Storey, upon his return from the Pacific. Harold remained as Chair of the Board until his death. While there, he served over thirty business, school and civic organizations and charities over the past 75 years.
He served 20 years on the Board of Directors of The Star house for recovering alcoholics, organizer of Rome Boys and Girls Clubs, Floyd County and Georgia State units of the American Cancer Society, as well as volunteer with American Red Cross Blood Drive, YMCA, March of Dimes, Northwest Georgia Alzheimer’s Association, William S. Davies Homeless Shelter, and Morningstar Treatment Center for troubled and abused children.
Well-known among Baptist Church life, he served as Deacon, Life Deacon and Deacon Chair at The First Baptist Church, where he taught Bible Study for over 45 years first to High School Boys, then Single Adults and Developmentally Disabled Adults, while leading committees for World Hunger, Christian Life Ethics, Youth, and Missions. Statewide he served as Trustee of Baptist Children’s Homes and Shorter College/University.
His love for classical music and the arts led him to his participation in Rome Little Theatre, construction of the Sarah Hightower Regional and Rome and Floyd County Libraries, Rome Community Concert Series and Civic Music Association, while enjoying establishing WRGA Classical Music weekly program and serving in Georgia Business Community for the Arts.
In business, his training in the UGA Business School catapulted Storey into roles as Director of Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Existing Industry Assn., Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce as a life member and Rome Kiwanis. He served as charter Director and member of First Community Bancshares, the organizing group for First Rome Bank.
Storey served as advisor for the Business Administration graduate program at Berry College, member of Martha Berry Society, Trustee and Chair of Sarah Hightower Regional Library, Trustee Chair of the Thornwood School and as Trustee of the Darlington School, elected as Life Trustee in 1993, and served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Shorter College.
All was eclipsed by his love for bringing justice and equality wherever he saw the need. In 1997 he spearheaded First Baptist Church efforts to sponsor four Kurdish families seeking refuge and asylum from Middle Eastern wars. Storey marshaled over four hundred people to assist 16 Kurdish refugees by renting apartments, furnishing 11 bedrooms, 4 kitchens, and documentations for labor, support, and licensing for their first 90 days. He had already led projects to collect foods and clothing numbering two thousand items in truckloads for Kosovo refugees in a New Jersey Army post.
Having grown up in the Crystal Springs area in northern Floyd County, he graduated from Gore High School in Chattooga County, he was privileged to call several neighboring families his lifelong friends. These friends helped build the strong reputation for excellence in the Storey Lumber Company. He was honored in 2012 by the Boy Scouts as Distinguished Citizen. In 1951, Harold Storey was recognized as Young Man of the Year for Rome and Floyd County by the Rome Jaycees and one of the 5 Young Men of the Year in Georgia.
Storey was recently featured in the 2021 winter issue of Alumni magazine of The Terry Business School at UGA He was recognized in 2016 by France with Legion DʼHonoure for liberation of France in WWII. The highlight of his life as a soldier and veteran was finally chronicled in his recently published book, A MAN OF PEACE GOES TO WAR, published and available through Good Faith Media.
Born on September 21, 1922, Storey was predeceased by his parents, Stella and S.I. (Sike) Storey, by his brother, Bernard Storey, and sister-in-law, Jacqueline Storey, and by a daughter-in-law, Terry Raine Storey. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Rena Mebane Storey, to whom he was married September 27, 1950. Also surviving is his daughter, Rena Storey Henderson (Bill), Black Mountain, NC, and a son, Harold Mebane Storey, Rome. Four grandchildren survive, Maryanne Henderson and Will Henderson, Washington, DC and Blaine Storey and Sarah Storey, Atlanta. Two great grandchildren survive, Baylor Storey Tumlin and Hayes Storey Tumlin.
Burial will be Saturday at Myrtle Hill Cemetery with Bob Berry, Bob Hortman, Bill Kelly, Jim Abney, Buford Harbin and Blaine Storey serving as pallbearers. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, November 28, at First Baptist Church of Rome. Dr. Bill Henderson, Dr. Floyd Roebuck, and the Rev. Bill Davies will officiate with remarks by his longtime friend, Otis Raybon. Visitation will follow in the sanctuary. The family asks that masks be worn. Flowers will be accepted, or memorials can be made to the First Baptist Church World Hunger Fund at P. O. Box 1189, Rome, GA 30162.
Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel, has charge of the funeral arrangements.
Just about everyone has a special memory of I. Harold Storey. They know the businessman from S.I. Storey Lumber Co., the husband, the father, the church member, the community servant and the World War II veteran.
Those memories are being shared today as the community mourns the passing of Mr. Storey, who would have turned 100 next year.
Social media lit up late Sunday as news spread of his passing. Son Hal Storey shared this later in the evening:
“Many friends have already seen this news through friends’ pages or Sarah Storey‘s, but Dad passed away this afternoon peacefully. He had a good breakfast but then took a turn for the worse. He simply stopped breathing a little before 2 p.m. at home with Mom by his side and holding his hand. They had a 71 year marriage after dating for 3 years!!! He was a good man and friend to thousands, literally. He cared about people and I dare say he never met a stranger. He knew people from the highest station in life and from the lowest as well – he called them all friends. 99 years and 3 months – Man, what a ride!!! Love you Pop. You made a difference.”
Mr. Storey was part of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Oral History project, sharing vivid memories from his service in World War II. The prelude:
“Harold Storey, born in Georgia in September of 1922, enlistd, like his father before him, in the Army when his country was in need. He served in the European Theater, seeing combat at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Storey recalls scouting for German soldiers, the difficult weather conditions at the Battle of the Bulge, and taking 500 German soldiers into custody.” Click here to view it.
The community’s love for Rena and Harold Storey was evident — and brought home in September when this billboard went up in appreciation of Mr. Storey’s 99th birthday:
Julie McCormick, a local educator and longtime friend, shared this note:
“The world lost a giant today. A man who showed greatness in doing the small things… things that mattered. The light is a little dimmer right now but he would want it to SHINE. Thank you, God, for Harold Storey.”
From The Davies Shelter:
We’ll have additional updates throughout the day.