Edward W. Hagler's son, Billy, was a distinguished retina surgeon. But Mr. Hagler, who died Tuesday at 98, didn't need his son's services to help him see the beauty of Augusta and the world around it.
"He was an environmentalist before the word was invented," said his son. "It was absolutely in his blood, in his genes and in his soul to protect God's Earth."
But if he adored the flora, Mr. Hagler also doted on the fauna. Besides worrying about stray animals, Mr. Hagler was a horse lover, having been a stunt rider from the University of Georgia's ROTC cavalry. He also made mankind his business: Mr. Hagler founded the Boys and Girls Club of Augusta, and often cheered on those who mentored the young.
As much as anything, though, the former treasurer of family-owned Georgia Carolina Brick and Tile was an Augustan. He loved the city and was "a fixture downtown for many years," said friend and attorney Hale Barrett.
And it can truly be said that he left it better than he found it.
Later this year, his St. Paul's Episcopal church will, naturally, plant oak trees in his memory.