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Obituaries from December 3, 2020; William Holder, Betty Prather, Sandy Bagwell, Burt Merrell, Shirley Hancock, Sara Sperin, Myrtle Bohanan, Sharon Emig

William Holder


Ret. Col. William Lyles Holder, Sr., 90, of Ellijay, GA previously of Marietta, GA passed on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at home with his family. 

“Bill” was born October 5, 1930 in Nashville, Tennessee to his late parents Dr. Harry Alfonso and Margaret (Pierce) Holder. Bill graduated from Fletcher High School, Jacksonville, FL in 1949. He attended the University of Florida and joined the FL Air National Guard while in college. Two years after attending the university he was called to active duty to the Korean War. He was stationed in California for some time where he was able to attend the University of New Mexico and graduate with a degree in weather forecasting. For Bill’s extraordinary achievement and outstanding airmanship he was awarded the highly coveted Distinguished Flying Cross. He was awarded the Air Medal and the First and Second Oak Leaf clusters to the Air Medal also. Bill had flown 50 missions at this time. After his enlistment of four years he joined the GA Air National Guard, Dobbins AFB, Marietta, GA. He retired with 40 years military service and as Commander of the 116th Resource Management Squadron. 

He was a member of the Cartecay United Methodist Church. Bill was active in the choir as he was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice. 

Bill is preceded in death by his daughter Janet Lynne Holder, sister Anne Pierce Holder, brothers James P. Holder, Harry Holder. Survivors include his loving wife of 66 years Nancy Virginia “Ginger” (Bell) Holder of Ellijay, GA, daughters Elizabeth Anne and Rev. Mark McLendon of Rome, GA, Jennifer Rasmussen of Canton, OH, son William Lyles, Jr, and Maria Holder, of Ocala, FL, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, nephew and niece also survive. 

Funeral services were held Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 1 p.m. at the Logan Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Mark McLendon officiating and Alan Davenport providing music. 

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Compassus Hospice & Palliative Care of Ellijay, GA, due to the compassionate and caring ministry we received from them. Online condolences may be sent to the family at Logan Funeral Home & Chapel in charge of arrangements.


Betty Prather


Betty Sue Prather, 79, of Jasper, GA passed away Friday, November 27, 2020 at her home. Betty was born March 10, 1941 in East Prairie, Missouri to the late John and Essie Kirby.

She is survived by her husband, T.J. Prather of Jasper; son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Shirley Prather of Jasper; daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Mike Aiken of Jasper; sisters, Sue Poteet of Chatsworth, Brenda O’Shields of Jasper, Peggy Serrit of Calhoun; 14 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and 3 great-great-grandchildren.  Several nieces, nephews and other family members also survive. She was preceded in death by son, Willie Prather and sister, Virginia Merrell.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m., Monday, November 30, 2020 in the Roper Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Tony Boyd and Rev. Harold Cantrell officiating. Interment followed in Sunrise Memorial Gardens.

Arrangements are entrusted to the staff of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory in Jasper.

Online condolences can be made at


Sandy Bagwell


Sandy Lynn Bagwell, 49, of Jasper, Georgia, passed away Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at Northside Hospital Cherokee. She was born April 18, 1971 to Jackie and Shirley Mitchell in Rome, Georgia. 

Sandy is survived by her husband, Jason Bagwell of Jasper; parents, Jackie and Shirley Mitchell of Jasper; sister and brother-in-law, Robin and Keith Cunningham of Fairmount; sister, Renee Cantrell of Fairmount; niece and nephews, Dusty Cunningham of Fairmount, Austin "Ace" Cunningham of Fairmount, Cody Cantrell of Fairmount, Brandi Cantrell of Fairmount; sisters-in-law, Betty Hollifield of Ball Ground, Jenny McVee of Canton; brother-in-law, Billy Bagwell of Marble Hill; special aunts and uncles, Ann and Jack Stone of Jasper, Becky Bass of Ellijay, Ronnie and Johnny Mitchell of Canton.  A host of aunts, uncles, and other relatives also survive.  

She was preceded in death by grandparents, Clara and E.C. Barns and Florence and Eugene Mitchell.

A graveside service was held at 11 a.m., Saturday, November 28, 2020 at Jasper City Cemetery  with Austin Stone officiating.   Pallbearers were Austin Stone, Shane Stone, Keith Cunningham, Dusty Cunningham, Ace Cunningham, and Cody Cantrell.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pickens Animal Rescue at 401 Old Whitestone Road W; Jasper, GA  30143.

Arrangements are entrusted to the staff of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory.  

Online condolences may be made at


Burt Merrell


Claude Burton "Burt" Merrell, 80, of Jasper, Georgia, passed away Friday, November 27, 2020. He was born December 31, 1939 to Lester and Mae Merrell in Fannin County, Georgia.  

Burt is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Tammy and Jason Turner of Jasper, Cathy and Lannie Holcomb of Jasper, Sandra Bennefield of Canton, Patricia and Jerome Dale of Canton; sons and daughters-in-law, Keith and Felicia Merrell of Marble Hill, David Merrell and Julia Jordan of Jasper, Jeff and Judith Carver of Jasper, Ricky Merrell of Jasper, Allen and Sonya Merrell of Jasper; sister, Thelma McElhannon of Royston. Numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relatives also survive.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Kirby Merrell; parents, Lester and Mae Merrell; son, Stephen Merrell; grandchildren, Anthony Chastain and Sarah Merrell.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, November 29, 2020 at Bethesda Baptist Church with Reverend Steven Chapman officiating. Interment followed in the church cemetery.

The family accepted flowers or memorial donations may be made to Roper Funeral Home and Crematory.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Staff of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory.  

Online condolences may be made at


Shirley Hancock


Mrs. Shirley Ann Hancock, 78, of Fairmount, Georgia, departed this life Sunday, November 29, 2020, at the Adventhealth Gordon Hospital in Calhoun, Georgia. Shirley was born January 17, 1942 in Ellijay, Georgia, the daughter of the late Lindsey and Faye Mandy Fountain Hancock.  She was also preceded in death by a daughter, Sheila Jane Postell and her brothers, Rayford Lee Hancock and Richard Lee Hancock.  

She is survived by her daughter, Derhonda Lynn Colter; sons, Timmy Eric Hancock and Tommy Edward Hancock all of Fairmount, GA; grandchildren, Jessica Phillips, Tabitha Postell, Christy Cruz, Jonathan Mulkey, Misty Holland and Christopher Holland; great-grandchildren, Faith Postell, Hope Postell, Tyler Brandon, William Holland, Breanna Clayton and Adam Wear; great-great-grandchildren, Destiny Phillips, Ryson Thompson and Jace Cornett; aunts, Minnie Hancock, Bonnie Burton, Nancy Young and Ella Fountain all of Pickens County, GA; several cousins.

Services to celebrate the life of Ms. Shirley Ann Hancock will be held Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 1 p.m. at the Ponders Fairmount Chapel, 2566 Hwy. 411, Fairmount, GA, with Reverend Bobby Timms officiating. She will be laid to rest with her family at Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery in Ludville, Georgia.  Her family and close friends will serve as pallbearers. The family will receive friends at Ponders Fairmount Chapel from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday and after 11 a.m. Saturday until the service hour.   

Due to the National health crisis and the Covid-19 virus, masks must be worn properly at all times and social distancing must be observed when visiting the funeral home.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at 

Arrangements will be announced by, Ponders Fairmount Chapel 2566 Hwy 411 Fairmount, GA 30139, 706-337-3784 and 


Sara Sperin


Sara Elaine Sperin, 83, of Ball Ground, Georgia, passed away Sunday, November 29, 2020 at The Retreat in Jasper.  She was born March 31, 1937 to Clarence Edward and Edna Belle Eubanks in Pickens County, Georgia.  

Sara is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Jim Allen of Martinez, Georgia; daughter, Sheri E. Sperin of Hiram; sons and daughters-in-law, Phillip and Rosa Linda Sperin of Tate, William R. and Debbie Sperin of Clarksville; 14 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren.  Several nieces and  nephews also survive.

She was preceded in death by Troy Jack Sperin and daughter, Jackie Lyn Sperin.

Services will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at Cool Springs Baptist Church with Reverend Steve Wigington and son-in-law, Jim Allen officiating.   Interment will follow in the Cool Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Cool Springs Baptist Church Cemetery Fund in Sara's honor.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Staff of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory.  

Online condolences may be made at


Myrtle Bohanan


Myrtle Pinyan Bohanan, 93, of Tate, Georgia, passed away Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at her home. She was born May 7, 1927 to David and Stella Edwards in Calhoun, Georgia.  

Mrs. Bohanan is survived by her daughter, Martha Merrell of Tate; son, Tom Blalock of North Carolina; grandchildren, Tim Merrell of White, Lloyd Blalock of Virginia, Brittany Blalock of North Carolina, Keri Beal of North Carolina; and sister, Carol McFarland of Canton.

A graveside service was held at 2 p.m., Saturday, November 28, 2020 at Cherokee Memorial Park with Reverend Steve Wigington officiating.  

Arrangements are entrusted to the staff of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory.  

Online condolences may be made at


Sharon Emig


Sharon (Shook) Emig of Jasper, Georgia passed away very peacefully on November 23, 2020, at home with family by her side. Sharon suffered several years of Alzheimer's disease and now she is at peace with God. 

Sharon was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on May 25, 1939, the daughter of Leonard and Ada Mae Shook. Sharon graduated from Wellsburg High School in 1957. She later attended classes at West Virginia University and West Liberty College. Sharon was manager of Wellsburg Red Cross until it closed. She then served as the Executive Secretary of the law firm, Rogers and Mielke, until she moved to Jasper, Georgia, where she worked as Secretary to the Director of North West Home Health. She was voted Secretary of the Year in Pickens County in 1996. She was a volunteer for ten years at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. 

She will be remembered for her gracious smile, and loving and caring ways. She never met a stranger; she loved everybody. Her family will always remember her as the marvelous pie maker. She looked forward to girl's day out with her daughters and granddaughter. 

Surviving is her loving husband of 61 years, Gene Emig, whom she married on May 23, 1959. They had three children: Shauna Davis (Marty), an Interior Designer in Macon, Georgia; Valerie Hasty (Bob), retired Hospice Nurse, Hoover, Alabama; and Leonard Emig, Advertising Executive, Atlanta, Georgia.  In addition, they had three grandchildren: Christian (fiancé Jamie), Tyler (Katie), and Megan.

There will be no services at this time, due to Covid-19. Memorial contributions can be made to Georgia Mountain Hospice; 70 Caring Way; Jasper, GA 30143. Condolences may be left for the family online at

Arrangements are entrusted to the staff of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory.