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William Joel Ham, Jr.

William Joel Ham Jr. died peacefully at his home on November 29, 2018 in Barnesville, Georgia at the age of 89. He was born in Monroe County, Georgia on July 25, 1929 to the late William Joel (Joe) Ham and Frances Darden Ham. Mr. Ham grew up in Forsyth, Georgia and attended Mary Persons High School. As a youth he worked for his uncle James Darden in his grocery store and played football for the MP Bulldogs under coach Jim ‘Slick’ Mitchell. After high school Mr. Ham joined the Navy, and served as an aerial photographer on the Coral Sea and the Oriskany, aircraft carriers, for four years. He left the service to work for his uncle’s car dealership in Pembroke, Georgia, and it was there that he met Freida Speir. Bill and Freida were married on July 17, 1955. In 1963 Mr. Ham and his wife and three young children moved to Barnesville, Georgia to open their first NAPA auto parts store. The Hams expanded the business, opening NAPA stores in Roberta (1981) and Forsyth (1983). An active member of First Baptist Church of Barnesville, Mr. Ham served as deacon, children’s Sunday School teacher, and member of the Ethington Co-ed Class. He has served on the Board of Directors at United Bank for many years. He was a member of the Jaycees of Barnesville, and he also served as Grandmaster of the Masons. In 2010, Mr. Ham was honored as Businessman of the Year in Barnesville by the Chamber of Commerce. Known as ‘Pops’ to his grandchildren, Mr. Ham was active and adventurous. He enjoyed a number of hobbies, including waterskiing with his children and grandchildren. Other favorite pastimes included quail hunting, golf, running and biking. Mr. Ham is predeceased by daughter Emily Ham Conger (Alan of Forsyth), and a sister, Gladelle Verzyl. Mr. Ham is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Freida Speir Ham, a son William J. Ham III (Betty) of Bolingbroke, a daughter, Melissa Ham Sellars (Ben) of Watkinsville, five grandchildren: Margarette Elaine Conger of Griffin, Meredith Frances Conger of Forsyth, Madison Ham Brooks (Andrew) of Auburn, Alabama, Joel Michael Ham of Atlanta, and Barret William Ham of Boston, Massachusetts, and brother Harold Ham (Sara) of Newnan. Mr. Ham was big-hearted and witty, a master of one-liners who could always make people laugh. He is loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be sent to First Baptist Church of Barnesville or Little Children of the World ministries. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Monday, December 3, 2018, at First Baptist Church of Barnesville. The family will greet friends the day of the service from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., at the church. Interment will follow in Monroe Hills Memorial Gardens. Rev. Garth Forster will officiate. Please visit www.monroecountymemorialchapel.com to express tributes. Monroe County Memorial Chapel has charge of arrangements.

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