Wednesday, February 18th, 2009...9:43 pm
William D. Warthen ’44
William Donovan “Bill”Warthen, of Vidalia GA passed away suddenly and quietly on Monday, February 17, 2009 in Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia. Bill was born in Vidalia on Jan. 27, 1924 to Richard “Dick” Donovan Warthen and John Benton Warthen, & he lived in Vidalia his entire life. He graduated from Vidalia schools & attended GMC & the Citadel. A year before graduating, his 1944 class volunteered & entered active duty in the US Army Infantry, 84th Division. In Nov. 1944 as a First Lt. at the age of 20, he & about 70 other solders “walked slap-dab into a trap” on the Dutch/German/French border & was captured. He was a POW at Oflag 64 in Shuben, Poland until Jan. 1945 when they were forced to march over 325 miles before being liberated in May 1945. He awarded a Purple Heart. His return home from Europe in July ’45 was followed almost immediately by marriage to his VHS classmate Dorothy Lewis. He worked his family farm for over 50 years raising cattle, soybeans, peanuts, tobacco, oats, cotton, and even a few onions. He also sold irrigation systems & operated a cotton gin in 1953. In the late 1950′s Bill began working with J.B. Brewton at the GA Pecan Auction, which he operated from 1960 until 1997. He was known by many as “the Pecan Man”. Bill was an active Kiwanian for over 40 years & served as its President & Key Club sponsor. He was selected as the “Vidalia Citizen of the Year” in 1974 & was
awarded the Kiwanian “George Hixon Fellow” in 1998. He has been an enthusiastic member of the Democratic Committee, President of the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce, Secretary & Treasurer of the Vidalia School Board, served on the Library Board, the Meadows Memorial Hospital Board, AgFirst Board & on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club. He was a Supervisor of the Ohoopee River, Soil & Water Conversation. Bill was a founding member of the Altamaha Investment Club & the Toombs County Historical Society. He loved his family, friends, God, books, history, email, politics, land, & people. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dorothy L. Warthen, & three children, Katherine Warthen Ezell (David Wahlstad) of Coral Gables FL, John B. Warthen, III of Vidalia/Amherst, MA, and Ellen E. Warthen (Chris Grabbe) of Atlanta; two grandsons, Boyce F Ezell, III of Coral Gables & William Donovan Ezell of Andover, MA; and two great grandchildren, Owen Donovan Ezell & Georgia Ezell. In lieu of flowers, donations to Boys & Girls Club of Toombs Co. (PO Box 324, Vidalia 30475) or the Warthen/Kiwanis Scholarship (PO Box 1183, Vidalia 30475). Funeral services will be held at 11 am, Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the First Baptist Church of Vidalia auditorium. Interment will follow in the Pinecrest Cemetery with Military Honors. Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home Savannah Morning News February 18, 2009. Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at savannahnow.com/obituaries.