From the obituary files of Novella Tole


In Celebration of the Homeqoing

July 22, 1919-February 9, 1997

Thursday, February 13, 1997

St. Paul Baptist Church
Decaturville, Tennessee

Rev. Henry H. Sanders, Officiating


Mr. George Odle McElrath, Sr.


          July 22, 1919 in Decatur County, "Smith Bottom," Tennessee; the oldest son born to the late Addie Tole McElrath and the late Julius McElrath.


          Mr. McElrath received his elementary education from the Decatur County School System. He graduated from Frazier High School in Tipton County, Tennessee in May of 1941.

          After finishing high school, he served in armed services [Army penciled in] from April 14, 1941 to November 1945 where he was Staff Sergeant and served in the battles of Normandy and Northern France. He received the FAME Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, the American Theater Ribbon and the Good Conduct Ribbon.

          He was united in holy matrimony to Ola Mae Brown January 21, 1942. To this union, five children were born. At an early age, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior and united with the New Hope Baptist Church in Decaturville, Tennessee where he remained until his passing. He served as a trustee and a deacon. He was also active with the Tennessee River District Association.

          "George Mack" was instrumental in establishing the Branch Chapter of the Decatur County N.A.A.C.P. and served as president. He was a community activist and worked hard in the civil rights movement. He was a member of the Beech Grove Masonic Lodge No. 99.

          He was a farmer and a retiree of the Chickasaw Area Development. Until his sickness he was a strong civic minded citizen who worked hard to help bring together people from all races and all walks of life. He worked to insure fair treatment and opportunities for all. He is remembered for making everyone feel welcomed in his home where he always insisted on sharing a meal with friends and visitors. He was the personification of the song, "If I Can Help Somebody."


          Sunday, February 8, 1997 at the Decatur County General Hospital in Parsons, Tennessee.

          He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife, Mrs. Ola Mae McElrath of Decaturville, Tennessee; three daughters: Joy McElrath of Chicago, IL, Addie (James) Whitten of Belleville, Illinois and Flora (John) Black of Memphis, TN; two sons: George (Agnes) McElrath, Jr. of Georgetown, IN and Maurice McElrath of Jackson, TN; four grandchildren to whom he was affectionately known as Pa Pa: Jeremy Whitten, Phillip Whitten, Alexandria Black and Clayton Julius McElrath; twenty-one nieces, thirteen nephews, a number of great nieces and nephews, two sisters-in-law, Mrs. Mary Lee McElrath and Ms. Mae Brown; a brother-in-law, William C. Scott; a number of other relatives and friends.

Casket Bearers
Mr. Franklin Brasher, Mr. George Pettigrew, Jr., Mr. Larry McElrath, Mr. Brad Dixon,
Mr. J. C. Brasher, Mr. Charles James, Mr. George L. Tole, Mr. Thomas Pirtle

Ms. Judy Prince, Ms. Stacey White, Ms. Margaret White, Ms. Kimberly Pettigrew,
Ms. Brenda Dickson, Tennessee River District Association Ushers

Final Tribute — New Hope Baptist Church

New Hope Cemetery
Decaturville, Tennessee

Services Entrusted
256 Middleton Street
Jackson, Tennessee 38301


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