Sir Isaac Newton once famously said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Newton used the phrase in a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675 as a metaphor to illustrate how he was only building on the scientific theory of those great thinkers who had come before him, not inventing it.
With the Thanksgiving holiday on the horizon, it seems only fitting to remember the giants we have lost locally this year who helped make Monroe and Walton County what it is today.
It’s a good time to thank them for giving us the opportunity to stand on their shoulders and see even further.
I’m thinking specifically of giants like Roy Roberts Sr., the longtime chairman of the the Walton County Republican Party who built the county GOP into a political force not just locally but in the state. Want to get elected as a Republican locally or in Georgia? Better show up at Roy’s famous barbeques or your chances were going to be slim to none. There is a reason why Walton County is as conservative as it is and votes Republican at as a high percentage as it does, and Senior is it.
Or like John Thompson, the founder of John’s Supermarket here in Monroe, which has been in business for more than 50 years now. That’s more than half a century of selling the best meat in town, folks. John and now his son, Greg, have the only true locally-owned grocery store in Monroe, and as the proprietor of the locally-owned newspaper in Monroe, I’ve always been impressed by that. I really value the business partnership we share with John’s and vision we both share for serving this community.
Or like Betty Buckles, who had operated the Buckles Hardware store in downtown Monroe with her husband, Gene, for many years together and for many more years after Gene passed in 2000. Miss Betty was a fixture at the store and in downtown, and her store was what helped bring people to downtown Monroe long before it became what it is today. Just one of the very nicest people you would ever want to meet who loved God, her family and her community, and wasn’t shy about it.
Or like George Baker Jr., a commercial real estate and land mogul who was as politically active locally as the best of them. “Ornary” or “crotchedy” are words I’ve often heard used to describe George, and there is probably some accuracy to the description. I, however, always found Mr. Baker, as I like to call him, to be extremely engaging and funny as all get out. His personality was a force, he was one of those characters that you immediately knew when they entered the room, and I loved it. He cared about Monroe as much as anyone you’d want to meet. His son, George Baker III, carries on that legacy.
Or like Terry Queen, the longtime president of the Walton County chapter of Georgia Right to Life and board member for the Pregnancy Resource Center for Walton. At the time of this writing, I am preparing to attend Terry’s funeral, and I have to tell you, this one’s tough. Terry was a great friend and an even better person. He dedicated his life to protecting the unborn and the sanctity of life, to speaking for those who could not speak for themselves and to stand for those who could not stand for themselves. Terry was not just one of the best people I knew, he was the best. I already miss him terribly, and our community will miss his contributions terribly as well. The good Lord got a great one when Terry walked through the gates earlier this week. For sure.
Terry is not the only one. I miss all of these giants terribly, along with others who have gone on to their great reward but are not mentioned in this space.
I’m thankful for the time we had with them and for their great examples.
And I’m thankful for their vision and their broad shoulders enabling us to see even further as we move forward without them.
Patrick Graham is proprietor and publisher of The Walton Tribune. His email address is email@example.com.