When death came Saturday to Isaiah "Ike" Washington at age 91, it stilled a warm, vibrant and generous heart, and ended a rich life of public service.
"Dr. Ike" was, on the basis of any standard by which people are measured, an unusual person -- unusual in that he possessed combinations of attributes with which few people are endowed. His hallmark was his keen sense of humor and an ability to smile even in the face of adversity.
Educating young people was this man's calling, and he ably served as a Richmond County teacher and principal for 37 years. He molded the minds of many young charges eager to learn.
In the 1970s, as his beloved Augusta and the South was undergoing de-segregation, concern for good government led him to win election to the Augusta City Council. He would serve on this important panel, off-and-on, for the next 17 years. His was a reliable voice for racial healing, and for keeping the lines of communication open between black and white Augustans.
Throughout his life Dr. Washington served his church and civic organizations with unflagging zeal, most recently serving on the boards of the Augusta-Richmond County Museum and the Senior Citizens Council. He was deeply devoted to his educator/wife Justine, and was at all times a constant friend.
Augusta will miss "Dr. Ike" -- his smile, his outreach to others and his genuineness.