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Hiram Barnes Harbuck, 80, of Forsyth, Georgia, passed away of natural causes at home surrounded by family in the afternoon hours of July 20, 2020. He was born to Henry Thomas and Annie Will (Rickenbaker) Harbuck on January 12, 1940, in Forsyth, Georgia.
Hiram graduated from Mary Persons High School in 1958 and spent three years in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, NC, with his older brother Rickey and classmate friends Charles Holloway and Harry Allen. While serving, he married his eighth-grade sweetheart Rosalyn McGee on June 19, 1960. They lived together in North Carolina for eleven months, and upon honorable discharge in 1961, they returned home to Forsyth where they raised their three children and became very active contributors in the community.
Hiram spent his life as a self-employed entrepreneur. As a land owner and real estate developer, Hiram built several homes and communities for lower- and middle-income families throughout Monroe County. He could often be found in his overalls, chewing on a cigar, driving any one of his old clunkers around town, and helping members of the community who had not been as fortunate as himself. Hiram and Rosalyn built, owned, and operated Hilltop and Forsyth Nursing Homes, two of the first nursing home facilities in Monroe County. Hiram served as a Monroe County Commissioner from 1972-1976; during his tenure, he pioneered the origins of the Monroe County Fire Department, personally driving to New York State to pick up the county’s first fire truck, and he initiated the use of public dumpsters throughout the county, which have since been replaced by the recycling centers in place today.
Hiram was a passionate sports fan, in particular of the Georgia Bulldogs, spending weekends in the fall raising his children in the shadows of Sanford Stadium and driving them all over the southeast to follow the Dawgs wherever they played football. He also spent many of his years dedicated to rec-league sports, where his competitive spirit and coaching led to numerous championships. He was an active member of Christ United Methodist Church and was instrumental both in procurement of land for and in construction of the church, where he served as a trustee and a member of the choir and the men’s club.
“Papa” was preceded in death by his daughter and her husband, Leighanne and Douglas Bowen; and a grandson, Seth Harbuck (Keith and Karen). He is survived by his loving wife Rosalyn Harbuck; two sons: Keith Harbuck (Karen), of Forsyth, and Vence Harbuck, of Jacksonville, Florida; brother Rickey Harbuck (Angela), of Forsyth; brother-in-law Lee McGee (Robbie); six grandchildren; three great grandchildren; seven nephews and nieces; and many fortunate “adopted” others who knew him affectionately as “Papa Harbuck”.
The family will conduct a small private family burial; however, a celebration of his life will take place outdoors at the family residence at 84 South Lee Street in Forsyth. Weather permitting, those wishing to join the family for this celebration may stop by between 5pm and 7pm on Thursday, July 23. Casual attire is welcomed and encouraged.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to Christ United Methodist Church in Forsyth in memory of Hiram Barnes Harbuck.
Monroe County Memorial Chapel has charge of arrangements.
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