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Thomas Hanie Paris Jr.
Tom Paris, Jr., passed away peacefully following a brief illness on Monday, November 19, 2018, at the age of 79. A native of Gainesville, Georgia, Tom was a devoted son, brother, husband, father and grandfather, as well as a successful businessman and community servant. He was caring, generous, and gracious, and Tom was proud of his family and loved them deeply.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Tom Paris, Sr. and Mary Foote Simmons Paris. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Alice Whitehead Paris of Gainesville, and son and daughter: Trey Paris (Sandra), Elizabeth Paris Hagood, both of Atlanta; and five grandchildren: Eliza Paris of New York City, Thomas H. Paris IV of Athens, Robert Brooks of Washington, D.C., William Brooks of Athens and Cole Hagood of Atlanta. Tom is also survived by his beloved sister, Joyce Paris of Decatur, and two nieces, Suzanne Phillips (Randy) and Cissy Belson (Bob) and several nephews.
Tom was elected class president of Gainesville High School in 1957 where he captained the football team and earned All-State and honorable mention All-American honors. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and was inducted into both Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Societies and Gridiron Secret Society. He was a three-year letterman for the SEC Champion Georgia Bulldogs football team under Coach Wally Butts. His allegiance to Gainesville High and the University of Georgia remained with him throughout his life.
Upon graduation from UGA, Tom joined the family business, serving as president of Paris-Dunlap Wholesale Hardware Company. He also served as president of the Southern Hardware Association and on the board of the National Wholesale Hardware Association. In addition to Paris-Dunlap Hardware, he founded Paris Management and Investment Company and Paris Storage Company. He also served as a director of Gainesville National Bank, Piedmont Southern Life Insurance Company and the local advisory board of Wachovia Bank.
With a giving heart, Tom devoted his life of leadership to the community he loved. A lifetime member of Gainesville First United Methodist Church, he served on its administrative board and chaired its finance committee. He was president of the Gainesville Rotary Club, the Chattahoochee Country Club, and he was a founding trustee of Lakeview Academy. For 25 years, he served as a trustee of Brenau University and chaired its finance committee. He was a director of the Gainesville-Hall Chamber of Commerce, Campfire Girls board and a member of Leadership Georgia. He remained involved with the University of Georgia, serving on the Terry College of Business Alumni Board, the President’s Club and the Letterman’s Club. He was awarded the Terry College of Business Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1987. For more than two decades, he was a trustee of the Northeast Georgia Health System board and chaired its strategic planning committee. He was a very dedicated and visionary board member of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, and his impact on the organization will last for generations. He also served on the board of The Highlands Falls Country Club, Highlands, N.C.
The Paris family will host an informal visitation at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville on Saturday, November 24th, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Gainesville First United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 25th.
In lieu of flowers, donations honoring Tom’s life may be made to the Gainesville First United Methodist Church, the University of Georgia Foundation or the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.
Those wishing to send online condolences to the family may do so at littledavenport.com
Little & Davenport Funeral Home and Crematory, 355 Dawsonville Highway, SW, Gainesville, Ga. 30501 is in charge of arrangements.