Press "Enter" to skip to content

A tribute to the master salesman with the kind heart

By Walter Geiger Our world and this community lost a slice of its soul and a chunk of its conscience Saturday when Sid Cheatham went to his reward at 95. He retired from a career in sales with B.F. Goodrich and immediately went to work for the people of Barnesville-Lamar County. When we came to Barnesville, Sid and Elaine were our neighbors. We shared a love of the yellow flowers. His side yard was lush with jonquils and daffodils. I liked to pick them for my wife and motherin- law but I got very few of Sid’s. He protected them for Elaine to enjoy. Knowing we had come to take over the local newspaper, it didn’t take Sid long to enlist us in support of his pet project. Back then Thomaston Street was a state highway. Sand trucks, log trucks trucks of all descriptions – roared up and down it day and night, ruining the tranquility. I was in my early twenties. Sid was in his sixties with that thick head of silver hair. That was old to me at the time but somehow seems young now. So I was shocked when he said, ‘One day one of these blue-haired old ladies on the street is going to back out of the driveway and get killed by one of these trucks.’ I chuckled but he was right as he always was. He went on his crusade and we helped with publicity and a little pressure applied in the right places. Sid got a bypass built, the trucks removed and things were safer indeed. Sid then went to work on upgrading the local library where he chaired the board for some 30 years. The existing Carnegie Library dated back to, well, back to the days when Carnegie was a household name. It had been awhile. Sid helped broker a deal in which Barnesville got a new, modern library. It was something few could have pulled off but the master salesman did it. Sid organized a book brigade and volumes were passed hand-to-hand from the old facility across the street to the new one. It was a touch of class that he orchestrated. Sid’s most important work came in the area I know least about because of the privacy that shrouds it. He chaired the board of the Department of Family and Children Services for a generation, sheltering mothers and children in need. I’m told that, because of Sid and others, the children in foster care here in Lamar County were always better dressed and cared for than their counterparts elsewhere. And, lo and behold, DFCS also got a new building while Sid was on board. Sid loved his church and he loved the people in it. He had the knack for knowing when to say something to pick you up. Long years ago, I joined the choir. I couldn’t read music and still can’t. After some months, I was picked to do my first ever solo at the 11 a.m. worship service. I was extremely nervous and it showed. I was very much disappointed in my performance and I guess that showed as well. After the service, Sid came up to me and said, ‘That was beautiful. I want you to sing at my funeral.’ He told me the name of the song he wanted performed. I was stunned but went back and placed a sticker in my choir book with his name and the name of the song. Years later, someone changed out our choir books. One day I was sitting in the choir loft and could see Sid and Elaine in their normal spot and remembered the sticker. It was gone. For months I racked my brain, trying to remember the song. Finally, I had to approach Sid and ask him. I was afraid he would be offended but he just smiled his gentle smile and reminded me. I vowed not to forget again. Two summers ago, it looked a lot like Sid might outlive me and I wouldn’t get to fulfill my pledge. Sid and Elaine were among the many of you praying for me. Thanks to those prayers and a loving God, I recovered. My first day back in church, Sid was the first to greet me. This is the hymn he requested be sung today: God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus; He came to love, heal and forgive; He lived and died to buy my pardon, An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives! Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives! How sweet to hold a newborn baby, And feel the pride and joy he gives; But greater still the calm assurance: This child can face uncertain days because He Lives! Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives! And then one day, I’ll cross the river, I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; And then, as death gives way to vict’ry, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives! Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future And life is worth the living, Just because He lives! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of the Herald Gazette. This was the eulogy he gave at Sid Cheatham’s funeral July 16 at the First United Methodist Church of Barnesville.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Website by NewsintheCloud.com - Copyright 2021