Funeral services for William F. “Bill” Garrett will be 2 p.m. Thursday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Hickory Flat.
The family will receive visitors today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Darby Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Garrett served as a loan officer and later as vice president at the former Bank of Canton and was selected in 1981 as the First Citizen by the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.
The Rev. Doug Mulkey of Mt. Zion Baptist said Garrett had suffered declining health in the last year, but the news of his death was still surprising.
Mulkey said he had been active in the church, long before he joined.
He added Garrett served as a deacon and a Sunday school teacher.
“Bill was a man who just had tremendous influence in the community,” he said. “I think the community will greatly miss his presence.”
Garrett, 98, had recently suffered a heart attack in the spring, said close friend Marcia Bobo.
Bobo said Garrett was only able to use 20 percent of his heart’s capacity and was eventually placed in hospice care.
She said she called or saw him almost everyday and even would take him out to lunch when she could.
Bobo first came to know Garrett when she went to work at the Bank of Canton in 1967.
She said Garrett was her first supervisor and “took me under his wing.”
“I’m very proud of the career I had at the Bank of Canton and I owe it all to Bill because I saw how he handled, communicated and dealt with customers,” she said.
Garrett graduated from the former Canton High School and Reinhardt College.
He served as teacher, basketball coach and principal at Hickory Flat Elementary.
He was drafted into the Army during World War II and served with Allied Supreme Headquarters in Europe.
He returned from the war and resumed his career in education as principal at Hickory Flat School in 1947.
In 1949, he began agricultural on-the-job training for veterans.
In 1950, he joined the Bank of Canton where he worked until 1976 when he retired as the bank’s vice president.
Garrett was active in the Canton Lions Club, American Legion Post No. 45 in Canton, served 25 years as president of the Cherokee County Fair Association, was secretary and treasurer of the Cherokee County Water Authority board of directors, former president of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, served on the Cherokee County Airport Authority and the North Georgia Area Planning Commission.
In 1980, he was awarded the chamber’s prestigious First Citizen award.
In 2011, he was awarded the Carter and Elizabeth Browning Award, which recognizes outstanding Hickory Flat residents and community leaders.
E.O. “Ed” McFather, who retired in 2001 as the chairman and CEO of the Bank of Canton, said Garrett was able to bring extensive knowledge about the county’s poultry and cattle industry to the bank.
He also said Garrett was an outstanding person who was “extremely well-liked” by others in the community.
“He was just a wonderful, good friend,” he added.