Bainbridge icon Mobley passes away

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bainbridge, Decatur County and the entire area of Southwest Georgia have much to be thankful that Dr. Ed Mobley and his wife Martha decided to locate in Bainbridge in 1972.

Prior to coming to Bainbridge Dr. Mobley served as academic dean at Dalton State College and completed a fellowship in the Humanities in Cambridge, Mass.

He came to Bainbridge to start a new school, Bainbridge Junior College. He built it from the ground up. Operating from a suitcase as his office, he went out and recruited both the faculty and students. He served as the school’s founding president until he stepped down in 1999.

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He has continued to maintain an office on the campus and serves as President Emeritus, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2009 he was honored when the administration building was renamed in his honor.

During his service as college president he enhanced the cultural life of the community by developing and introducing many new customs and experiences to the community.

He, along with three other faculty members from the college formed the Bainbridge Little Theatre, which is celebrating its 41st year. He and his wife have remained actively engaged in that organization and he continued to play drums in the pit band for the musical performances.

Dr. Mobley graduated from Florida State University with a doctorate in Music Education and he willingly shared that knowledge with the community.

In 1976 he founded the Bainbridge British Brass Band, which first began by playing Christmas carols for a Christmas Eve community sing. That band went on to develop and travel for performances at festivals and competitions. When he handed the baton over to BHS band director Paschal Ward, it transitioned to the Bainbridge Community Band.

Dr. Mobley was an original member of the now defunct ArtsFest, which annually brought musical and literary artists to town for a week of concerts and educational presentations in the schools as well as public performances. One of the earlier undertakings was bringing the Winds Symphony. The group arrived by boat on the Flint River and performed concerts from that vantage point.

Throughout his life he remained an active supporter of the Bainbridge Decatur Arts Council. He was also a lover of animals and supported the Bainbridge, Decatur County Humane Society in their work.

Mobley was a faithful Rotarian for many years. Martha said he kept his pills in a weekday container to keep track of his medication. While visiting the doctor one day, he noticed Mobley had a circular shaped object in his stomach. It turned out to be his Rotary pin, accidentally swallowed with the rest of his pills.

“That’s how loyal a Rotarian he was,” Martha said, laughing.

Current BSC president Richard Carvajal was close to Mobley and expressed his sentiments on the passing of the former president.

“Today, the Bainbridge State College family mourns the loss of its patriarch and Founding President, Dr. Ed Mobley,” Carvajal said. “A devoted husband, father, musician, philanthropist, and leader, Dr. Mobley was larger than life, and his impact on all of us cannot be overstated. Quite simply, our College, Decatur County, and all of Southwest Georgia would not be what they are today without the difference he made during an amazing 25-year tenure as President. All of the opportunities that have been available to students for over 40 years and which continue to be available today came as a direct result of the vision and hard work that Dr. Mobley demonstrated.

“He saw that the difference we could make stretched far beyond the borders of our institution, and he built a College that, at its core, was focused on changing lives for the better. He was universally loved and respected, and the impact that he had on so many individuals and families will be felt for generations to come. What an amazing life! Like all of our faculty, staff, students and alumni, I will miss my friend.”

Former history professor Jim Young, who worked with Mobley during the early years of the institution, said it wouldn’t have been a college without him.

“It was fun,” Young said. “We enjoyed it. We had a great time, great students and we enjoyed what we did. It was like one big happy family. The administration, the grounds people, everybody got along, and everybody was treated like anyone else.”

Mobley’s funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church.

Mobley’s former secretary, Barbara Snipes, said she would never forget the day she began working at BSC.

“One of the happiest days of my life was in September of 1985 when President Edward Mobley called me to his office and offered me the job of Secretary to the President,” Snipes said. “I was absolutely thrilled and immediately accepted his offer.  This began my 11 year tenure with the  Founding President of Bainbridge Junior College. Dr. Mobley was a man of great stature – certainly in his tall, handsome frame but also in many other ways. He was a true Renaissance man.  He was a great leader, teacher, humanitarian, athlete, musician and most importantly, a great husband to Martha and a great father to Laurel.”