J. Frank McGill, a lifelong resident of Tift County, passed away Wednesday, March 3, 2021. A private, family memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, March 6, in the sanctuary of Tifton’s First United Methodist Church, with Reverend Chip Grantham officiating. The service will be live-streamed on YouTube at Tifton FUMC or at www.facebook.com/tiftonfumc. A private, family graveside service will be held immediately afterward at Oakridge Cemetery. Albritton Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.
Mr. McGill is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Janet Reed McGill from Blakely. He is also survived by their four children and spouses: Mark and Myra McGill of Tifton, Becky and Steve Barber of Marietta, Laurie and John Bolen of Tifton, and Kelly and Stanley Dean of Sandy Springs, as well as 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He was proud of his family. They were the loves of his life.
McGill was born December 16, 1925, on a small family row crop farm in Tift County. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. McGill, who migrated from Randolph County, Alabama, in 1911. He had two older brothers,Millard McGill and Harold McGill and two older sisters, Mary Sue Polk and Doris Jones.
A veteran of WWII, McGill was a ground-to-air radio operator in the United States Army Air Force from September 1945 until January 1947, serving at Ladd Field in Fairbanks, Alaska. In 1950, after graduating ABAC and the University of Georgia, he completed a master’s degree in Agronomy in 1958 from UGA and the University of Arkansas.
Mr. McGill served the Georgia peanut industry for 52 years: 31 years as a county agent and UGA’s Cooperative Extension peanut specialist and 16 years as a full-time consultant for M&M Mars in Albany, Georgia. He then served another 5 years as a peanut consultant at USDA’s National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson, Georgia, helping to develop a computer model of the peanut plant.
During his professional career, McGill was the recipient of numerous local, state, national and international awards. His work took him to more than 20 countries on 4 continents. In 2017, McGill was one of 12 scientists recognized for his impact on world agriculture as part of UGA’s centennial celebration.
Locally, McGill was a founding director of Tifton Bank & Trust Company (now BB&T), a founding director of Tiftarea Funeral Home (now Albritton), a member of ABAC President’s Club, member of Tifton County Foundation for Educational Excellence, and past chairman of the board of Tiftarea Academy.
He was an active member and lay leader of his church, Tifton First United Methodist, joining in 1937 at the age of 12. He was a man of great faith, full of Christian love and driven by a passion for missions and service. Hard work was his joy.
In lieu of flowers or memorials, it was his desire that you practice random and unexpected expressions of love and compassion to others on a continuing basis.