of Albany Sports Hall of
Pennington, Class of 1958
November 26, 1939 - March 4, 2013
Memorial services are scheduled for Thomas Durward
Pennington, Jr., 73, who died Monday, March 4, 2013. Services
will be held Thursday, March 7, 2013, at 4:00 pm at the
Gainesville First United Methodist Church. Dr. Terry Walton and
Dr. D.B. Shelnutt will officiate. The family will receive
friends on Wednesday, March 6 from 5-8 pm at Little & Davenport,
355 Dawsonville Hwy., Gainesville, GA.
Durward was born in Albany, GA and graduated from Albany High
School (Class of 1958) where he was a four sport letterman and
is in the Albany Sports Hall of Fame. He went to the University
of Georgia on a football scholarship and kicked the winning
point to secure the SEC title for Georgia in 1959. In 1961 he
kicked a 52 yard field goal that was a UGA record for 13 years.
After graduation Durward was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and
played two years for the Dallas Texans.
In 1965 Durward came to Gainesville High School as an assistant
football coach where he was affectionately known as “Coach P.”
After eight years he left GHS for a business position with his
father-in-law, Charles Thurmond, but Durward never gave up
coaching. He continued as a volunteer coach for GHS athletics
throughout his life and had a positive influence on generations
of young men. One former student comments, “I first met Coach P.
in seventh grade but he has coached me the rest of my life.”
Another student says, “He was not only a coach but a
compassionate friend who did so much for so many behind the
scenes.” “Durward never turned his back on any athlete who
needed words of encouragement or financial help, “according to
Wayne Vickery, longtime friend and Gainesville High Athletic
Director. Because of his unselfish dedication to young people
Durward received the Kiwanis Youth Service Award in 2002. He was
also awarded an honorary diploma from Gainesville High School
for his unwavering support through the years. Also, Durward has
continued to be a loyal University of Georgia supporter by
endowing the Durward and Betsy Pennington Scholarship for
Throughout his life Durward was a devoted family man, husband,
father and grandfather. His calm demeanor and love supported his
family through happy and sad times. He enjoyed being surrounded
by his grandchildren, especially at the beach. He took great
pleasure watching his grandchildren participate in sports. He
treasured his friends and was loved by many.
Durward was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Durward
Pennington, Sr., and Irene Davenport Pennington, his brother,
Milton Jackson Pennington and his grandson, Tyler Wahl
Safarriyeh. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Betsy
Thurmond Pennington; son and daughter-in-law, Thomas Durward
Pennington III and Melissa Miller Pennington; daughter and
son-in-law, Susan Pennington Rosetti and Marcus Rosetti; and
daughter and son-in-law, Carrie Pennington Safarriyeh and Jeff
Safarriyeh; grandchildren, Thomas Durward Pennington IV, Sophie
Rosetti, Grant Rosetti, Olivia Rosetti, Brandon Safarriyeh, Ella
Safarriyeh, Blake Safarriyeh and Emma Safarriyeh; sister, Becky
Pennington Knight; and nieces and nephews; Ladd Murphy, Lady
Muphy Harcrow, Cristen Pennington Everett and Jackson
Albany Herald | COLUMN: There will never
be another like Albany's Durward Pennington
- Loran Smith
In Loving Memory of "Harold Dean Cook"
It'll Take Quite A Man to Fill His Place ~
AHS 1953 Thronateeska
Date of Birth:
December 25, 1933
Date of Death:
April 8, 2010
The funeral service of Harold Dean Cook, 76, of Albany, GA
who died Thursday, April 8, 2010 at Lee County Health Care,
will be conducted Saturday at 11:00 AM at Byne Memorial
Baptist Church. Dr. J. Matthew Nance will officiate.
Interment will follow in Crown Hill Cemetery.
A native of Colquitt, GA, Harold Dean also lived in Baker
Co., GA and moved to Albany at a young age. He was a 1953
graduate of Albany High School where he lettered in
football, baseball and basketball. Harold Dean was awarded
a football scholarship to the University of Georgia where he
earned all SEC honors as a freshman starter. He graduated
from the University of Georgia in 1958 with a Bachelor of
Science Degree in Education and later a Masters Degree in
Education and Administration from Middle Tennessee State
Harold Dean began his coaching career at the newly formed
Central High School in Thomasville from 1958. He coached
football, girls’ basketball and taught Physical Education.
He left Central in 1961 and returned to Albany as assistant
football coach to the late Pat Field, longtime mentor and
friend. Harold Dean succeeded Coach Field as head coach and
held that position for six years. He also served as
Headmaster at Worth Academy and Riverview Academy before
becoming Director of Plant Services for Doughty County
School System where he remained for thirteen years. After
leaving there, he taught Physical Education and was
Assistant football coach at Fitzgerald High School for one
year. Then he became Director of Plant Services for the
Worth County School System where he remained until his
retirement in 1996.
Harold Dean was inducted into the Albany Sports Hall of Fame
in 1990 and served on the Selection Committee for a number
of years. He was also a member of the UGA Letterman’s Club
and Wally’s Boys.
Harold Dean was a member of Byne Memorial Baptist Church and
the A&P Sunday School Class.
Mr. Cook was also a Master Brick and Stone Mason and was
always known for his hard work ethic. He loved to garden
and work in his yard. He also enjoyed fishing and taking
canoe trips with his friends. Also when his children were
young, he took his family on camping trips every summer.
Harold Dean was a big Country Music fan, as well as Cajun
and Blue Grass.
Survivors include his wife, Carolyn Payne Cook of Albany,
GA, two daughters, Kim Hays and her husband, Jeff of
Cumming, GA, Kelly Cook of Albany, GA, a son, Steve Cook and
his wife April of Lee Co., GA and five grandchildren,
Jennifer Ramirez and her husband David of Jacksonville, FL,
Kelcie Hays, Harrison Hays both of Cumming, GA, Tyler Cook
and McKenzie Cook both of Lee County, GA.
The family will receive friends Friday from 6:00 PM until
8:00 PM at Mathews Funeral Home.
Those desiring may make donations to Byne Memorial Baptist
Church, 2832 Ledo Road, Albany, GA 31707 or the Alzheimer’s
Association, Georgia Chapter, 1512-1 Gillionville Road,
Albany, GA 31707.
To sign our online registry or to
send condolences to the family, you may visit Mathews’ website
Mathews Funeral Home 229-435-5657
Mathews Funeral Home
Bulldogs bid farewell to one of Wally's boys
Athens Banner-Herald | Story updated at 10:33 pm on 6/28/2009
more Smith columns...
Cleve Clark, a Georgia football letterman from 1953-55, died last week, his
service became a reunion of the 1950s-era players who labored under the
practice-field intensity of Wallace Butts.
Throughout their post-campus lives, these former players have often gathered to
reminisce about their Spartan life under their beloved coach.
was a taskmaster and a perfectionist. He required a boot-camp regimen, which
served him well in his heyday of the '40s, but probably worked against him as
attitudes changed late in his career.
however, remained steadfast in his belief that those who practiced the hardest
would be the most likely to succeed in the fourth quarter.
abundant talent, he triumphed more often than not, but the risk, without deep
talent, is that games can be lost on the practice field.
boys of the '50s never considered it important to debate Butts' coaching
philosophy. They revered their coach, and they considered it a badge of honor to
be a Wally alumnus.
whenever they congregate for any reason, even if it is a social gathering of
three or four, the conversation usually turns to the days on the practice field
and the colorful vernacular of their coach.
forever reflect back to a practice session when the humdrum of the daily routine
was spiced by a comment by the colorful Butts, whose verbiage made them stifle a
mouthful of laughter. Nobody laughed until afterwards when they were certain
they were out of earshot of their coach.
style would be akin to a platoon leader wisecracking with mortar fire enveloping
his battlefield unit.
Butts was a clever, funny man with caustic wit. His verbal ability to
graphically define a practice-field shortcoming is legend among his former
1950s were not the best of times for Butts. His teams, after winning three
Southeastern Conference titles and two national championships in the 1940s,
struggled throughout the next decade of his career until 1959 when his underdog
team claimed a fourth SEC title.
Although there was not a frequency of high moments for those struggling teams,
something took place that has served their roster members well. The bonding that
came about is heartwarming. There was no dissention, contempt, or disharmony
when they played - and nothing of the sort has hung over in their after years.
There is a brotherly love that has strengthened their friendship with the
passing of time.
them had greater affection for Coach Butts than Cleve Clark, although when the
5-foot-7 Butts dashed over to chastise the 6-5 Clark, they were the classic odd
couple. Cleve admitted that, although he towered over his coach, he was deathly
afraid of him. All of Wally's boys felt the same way.
arrived on campus from Albany, Cleve unpacked for life under the "Little Round
Man," as Butts was known, with the awareness that there were many in his
hometown who told him he was not tough enough to survive his tutelage.
determined to show them. He succeeded.
every athlete's career, there is a singular and unforgettable moment. Cleve's
came in the 1955 Georgia-Vanderbilt game between the hedges. Vandy got out front
13-0, but the Dogs came back to win 14-13. Cleve caught an 11-yard pass for
Georgia's first score and made a critical third-down catch on the game-winning
his heart gave out on him last week, and he moved on to that great gridiron in
the sky, in all probability he would have agreed that his greatest achievement
was being one of Wally's boys.
Loran Smith is a contributing columnist for the Athens Banner-Herald. E-mail:
Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Monday, June 29, 2009
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