Mr. Harold Griffin Harper, Sr., 89, passed away peacefully Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at his residence. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM, Friday, February 15, 2019, in the Chapel of Albritton Funeral Directors with Rev BJ Funk and Randy Hand officiating. Harold Chambers will provide the eulogy. Mr. Harper will be laid to rest at Oakridge Cemetery. The family will receive friends Thursday, February 14, 2019,from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the funeral home.
Jason Ross, Jared Ross, Blake Folsom, Griffin Harper, Jacob Harper, Stephen Chadwick, Paxton Morris, Matt Howell and Javier Campos will serve as pallbearers. Mr. Harper was born November 19, 1929 in Ambrose, GA to the late Quitman Harper and Myrtice Smith Harper. He was preceded in death by a sister, Janice Edwards. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church of Tifton. He was a self‐employed real estate developer and businessman.
Mr. Harper is survived by his spouse of forty-four years; Dorothy Keigans Harper of Tifton. He is also survived by one son, Hal and Krista Harper of Tifton; three daughters, Debra and Stan Folsom of Barney, Denise and Randy Sauls of Valdosta, Donna and Randy Ross of Tifton; ten grandchildren, Daphne Folsom, Jason and Miranda Ross, Deidre and Stephen Chadwick, Hilary and Paxton Morris, Blake Folsom and fiancée Sarah Inglis, Jared and Katelyn Ross, Sarah and Matt Howell, Griffin Harper, Emily Sauls and Jacob Harper; six great grandchildren, Camden Chadwick, Lucas Chadwick, Harper Ross, Davis Ross, Anna Chadwick and Ellis Ross. He is also survived by a niece, Patti Hoffman.
Mr. Harper came to Tifton in 1956, as a surveyor for the Department of Transportation and later established a local surveying business. His career ventured into real estate development, convenience stores and other retail businesses. His big passion was historic rehabilitation of downtown Tifton real estate. Mr. Harper developed many downtown Tifton properties in his career and truly loved Tifton. At a time when downtown Tifton had declined in the early 1980's Mr. Harper started a trend of rehabbing the downtown area that continues today. Some of his projects included the Wilton, The Myon, The Avenue, Lofts at Twin Brick, Union Depot and Gatehouse at Twin Brick. Harper served on numerous boards including the Tift County Development Authority, the Tift Theatre Board, the Chamber of Commerce Board, The Historic Preservation Commission Board, and he was one of the founding members of the Downtown Development Authority Board for which he served many years. He was currently serving on the Tifton‐Tift County Tourism Board. Harold Harper received numerous awards throughout his career including the 1983 Chamber of Commerce DeNean Stafford Award, The Chamber of Commerce Community Development Award and the 1987 Governor's Community Development Award for his efforts dedicated to the Myon Hotel project. He is also on the Tifton‐Tift County Chamber of Commerce Wall of Fame. The renaming of First Street to Harold Harper Way was an honor bestowed on him for his part to Downtown Tifton and Tifton's Hometown Holidays Celebration. In 2000, Georgia Trend featured Mr. Harper for his contributions to downtown Tifton. Mr. Harper was named as one of the 40 most influential South Georgians in 2003. In 2015, he received the George A. Wright Memorial Award and the Georgia Downtown Association Award for Excellence Award and Design for the Union Depot. He also received the Georgia Municipal Association's Renaissance Award, the Tifton Tift County Chamber of Commerce 2016 John Hunt Entrepreneur of the Year, and Historic Downtown Tifton's 2016 Developer of the Year Award. The Tifton Merchants Association presented Mr. Harper with a plaque in 2017 for their appreciation for his many years of dedication and diligence to downtown Tifton.
Flowers will be accepted or donations can be made to Special Hearts Club Tift County High School c/o Tammy Jones, PO Box 38, Brookfield, GA 31727; Jay Deason Fund, 418 N Ridge Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794; The Methodist Home for Children and Youth, PO Box 2525, Macon, GA 31203‐2525.
Albritton Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.