George Campbell Land, Sr.
Mr. George Campbell Land, Sr. passed July 12, 2020.
George C. Land, Sr. (better known as G.C. to family and close friends), the youngest of three boys of the late Charles H. and Lillie Lyles Land, was born on January 10, 1928 in the small, unincorporated community of Leeds, South Carolina, located in southwestern Chester County (on the border of Fairfield County).
Throughout his boyhood, George’s life and values were greatly impacted by his extended family, and specifically, his grandfather Will Lyles, who fashioned and orchestrated a communal environment. There was the building of a two-room grade school, where George’s aunts Willie and Bessie taught; the church, New Hope Baptist, also established and built by his grandfather; and the family farm, apportioned equally again by Grandpa Will to George’s mom and eight sisters on which to live and work.
George’s post-grade school education included Finley High School (diploma) in Chester, SC; Friendship Junior College (Associate’s degree) in Rock Hill, SC; Allen University (Bachelor of Science degree) in Columbia, SC; Indiana University (Master of Science degree) in Bloomington, Indiana; and further studies at Indiana University, Winthrop College (now Winthrop University), University of Georgia and others. As patriarch Will Lyles understood in the late 1800’s, education would be the key for upward mobility. To that end, George Sr. became the first of his grandsons to attend and finish college.
Like his brothers, Charlie Mack and Willie Andy, George played sports growing up. He played varsity football and basketball in high school and junior college, and varsity football for Allen University. George also became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
George’s professional career began in 1955 upon graduation from college and after two years of military service where he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. He was employed at Friendship Junior College, his alma mater, where he taught, recruited students, coached the football and basketball teams and other miscellaneous duties. This experience began a 40-year professional career that included elementary and high school principal and teaching roles in Rock Hill; Vice President and Dean of Students at Saint Augustine’s College (now Saint Augustine’s University) in Raleigh, NC; and Director of Atlanta University Center’s Career Planning and Placement Center in Atlanta, Ga. During the course of his outstanding career, George was active and served in leadership roles in a number of professional and civic organizations and associations.
In 1956, George married Dorothy Thompson of Rock Hill, SC and they were blessed with two children, Janice and George Jr. George Sr. and Dorothy recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.
As a retiree, George was very active in community services and volunteer work for his beloved Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta. He also involved himself in a variety of activities of a recreational, social and spiritual nature – all aimed to enhance a healthy mind, body and soul, and to promote longevity of life.
Anyone who knew George Sr. knows that he was a kind, genuine man who cared about his fellow human beings, no matter who they were. Although tall in stature, George did not seek or require attention; rather he went about the business of his life in an understated way without seeking praise. Above all, he dearly cherished his family, who loved his good-natured personality and hearty laugh. George was a devout Christian and in the end, was at peace and was prepared to receive his wings.
George Sr. is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his two children and their spouses, Janice Land Hudson (DeVon Hudson) and George Jr. (Lisa V. Land); three cherished grandchildren, Chase Montgomery Hudson, Lindsay Alexandra Land and Lucas Grayson Land; sister, Margaret Sims; his best friend of 74 years, Samuel R. Foster, Sr.; and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and close family friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in is name to the Friendship Baptist Church Music Scholarship Fund, 80 Walnut St., SW Atlanta GA 30314.
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