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Friends, family and officials say goodbye to 'Mr. Chairman'

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Local, state and federal officials joined family and friends to honor the life of former Dougherty County Commission Chairman Gil Barrett Thursday.

Barrett, who served on the county commission for more than 40 years, died Sunday. He was 87.

Thursday, friends and family honored Barrett's life during a funeral mass at St. Teresa's Catholic Church.

During the service, which was officiated by the Rev. Stanton Finbarr, Barrett was championed as man whose life was dedicated to public service both through his service in the U.S. Army in World War II, his time on the Dougherty County Commission and through his

appointments to federal committees by Presidents Ford and Reagan.

"He was a man called to serve and was one who served his country through World War II, through his political life at the local, state and federal level and his God and his family at home," Finbarr said.

Finbarr said Barrett played a vital and honorable role in the creation of the New South in the wake of the civil rights movement and never was one to let his stature as a political figure prevent him from being friendly and helpful with anyone who crossed his path.

Present at the service were many local and state elected officials including County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Albany Mayor Willie Adams, State Rep. Carol Fullerton, Sheriff Kevin Sproul and District Attorney Greg Edwards; along with representatives from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson's office; along with a large group of county officials from various county departments.

Following the requiem at the church, Barrett was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Barrett was appointed by Reagan to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1982, reappointed in 1985, and was one of only three county commissioners appointed by Reagan who helped form the "New Coalition" of counties, cities, and states. He was the sole appointee by Ford to the Federal Commission on Paperwork in 1975.

In a statement released Thursday, Isakson called Barrett a "true leader."

"Gil Barrett served his country, his state, county and city with honor.

He looked out for everyone he met and was a true leader for Southwest Georgia," he wrote.