John D. Comer, age 95, of Macon, died on April 4, 2019. He was born in Macon on April 30, 1923, a month after his father, John Drewry Comer of Savannah, died of pneumonia. He, his sister Cynthia, and their brother Hugh were raised by their mother, Maud Gamble Comer of Louisville, Georgia in the family home on Vineville Ave. He lived in Macon his entire life, except for time away at preparatory school, college, and law school, and during a period of service in the Army. He moved to Carlyle Place in 2009. He was dedicated to his family, community, and profession. Members of the family will greet visitors on Monday, April 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hart’s at the Cupola, 6324 Peake Road in Macon. A private graveside service and interment will be held on Tuesday, April 9 in Rose Hill Cemetery with the Rev. George W. “Chip” Miller officiating.
Mr. Comer attended Middlesex School, an independent preparatory boarding school in Concord, Massachusetts. Upon his graduation in 1941, he spent the next 42 months serving in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in Field Artillery (Pacific Theater). Following the war, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard College as a member of the class of 1945, and his law degree cum laude at the University of Georgia, where he graduated first in his class in 1949. While at UGA, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Gridiron Society, and served as editor-in-chief of the student editorial board (which would later publish the Georgia Law Review).
After law school, Mr. Comer returned to Macon to practice as an associate with the law firm Turpin & Lane. He later associated with Harris, Harris, Russell & Weaver and became a partner at Harris, Russell, Weaver & Watkins. Mr. Comer formed the law firm Sell & Comer in 1956 with fellow Georgia School of Law alumnus Edward S. Sell, Jr. The firm later became Sell, Comer & Popper, which in 1980 partnered with Melton, McKenna, House & Green to form Sell & Melton. He became of counsel to Sell & Melton, LLP in 2002. His areas of specialization included corporate law, trusts and estates, and hospital law.
During his law career, Mr. Comer served as first President of the Macon Legal Aid Society, Inc. in 1953, received the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Macon Bar Association in 1954, and was President of the Macon Bar Association in 1956. He was President of the Georgia Academy of Hospital Attorneys in 1985 and was a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel beginning in 1971. In 2005, he was honored by the UGA Law School Association as a recipient of its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Scroll Award.
He was a Director of the Bibb Manufacturing Company from 1968 to 1985, a Director of The Citizens & Southern National Bank (now Bank of America) from 1970-1991, and served as a Trustee of The Peyton Anderson Foundation from its inception in 1989 to 2009.
Throughout his life Mr. Comer, along with his wife, served the greater Macon community in many capacities, supporting numerous charitable causes, civic groups, and educational and cultural institutions. He served as Fund Chairman and President of the United Givers Fund (now United Way) of Macon and Bibb County, and served as Fund Chairman and President of the Macon Chapter of the American Red Cross. He also was a trustee of the Middle Georgia Regional Library, President of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, President of Idle Hour County Club, a founding member and President of the Macon Civic Club, and member of the Palaver Club.
A lifetime member of the First Presbyterian Church, Mr. Comer served as a Trustee of the church and Chairman of the Board of Deacons. Among his hobbies were playing handball, travel, antique automobiles, cultivating bonsai trees, growing fruits and tomatoes, composting, working in his yard, and taking daily evening walks. He is remembered by his family for his deep generosity, commitment to his family, intellectual curiosity, and fair-minded approach to issues of the day.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Mary Anderson Comer, sister Cynthia Comer Ross, brother Hugh Moss Comer, and his elder son, John Drewry “Drew” Comer, Jr. He is survived by son James Anderson “Andy” (Rachelle) of Decatur, Georgia; daughter Cynthia Hunter Comer (Michael Henle) of Oberlin, Ohio; two granddaughters, Andrea Comer Goff (Kyle) of Athens, Georgia, and Catherine Drewry Comer (Luke Moses, fiancé) of Savannah, Georgia; great-granddaughter Lincoln Elizabeth Goff; great-grandson Anderson James Goff; as well as a great-nephew and two great-nieces.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the charity of the donor’s choice. Acknowledgments may be sent to Cynthia Comer, 74 S. Cedar St., Oberlin, OH 44074.
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Hart’s Mortuary at the Cupola, 6324 Peake Road, has charge of arrangements. .
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