Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Willie Mays believes that in the long run, history will treat former Augusta mayor Ed McIntyre very well. The longtime Augusta political figure died Saturday at age 71.
As the first black Richmond County commissioner and the first black Augusta mayor, Mr. McIntyre was never bashful about fighting for rights, but he never made it a nasty fight, Mr. Mays said.
"He always took an approach of loving and caring about this city, even to the very end," he said. "Wanting to make a contribution."
In the 1970s and '80s, when Mr. McIntyre was in office, communities - both black and white - needed improvement, Mr. Mays said.
"I think people who remember those days can remember for the first time going from a dirt street or a dirt road that was full of potholes to, for the first time ever, living on a paved street," he said. "There were still situations of toilet facilities being outdoors that he played a major role in terms of public works chairman."
Mr. McIntyre worked at Mays Mortuary when Mr. Mays was a boy. As a teenager, Mr. Mays worked in Mr. McIntyre's campaigns and said he learned a lot.
"Ed had a beautiful voice," Mr. Mays recalled. "He sang with Morehouse College glee club. Ed sometimes would have to sing solo at funerals. Those are things we would reminisce about later on."
Mr. McIntyre sang with Morehouse College groups on occasion, even as late as former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson's funeral last year, Mr. Mays said.
Many other Augustans who knew and worked with Mr. McIntyre through the years recalled their times with him Saturday after learning of his death.
Richmond County School Board member Marion Barnes, who grew up with him and taught school with him at C.T. Walker Elementary School, described him as a great person.
"He was a people person," Mr. Barnes said. "He thought his calling was to help others. That was his main thing in life - to do for other people. He loved his family. He loved his church and he loved politics."
Former Augusta Mayor Charles DeVaney, who became mayor after Mr. McIntyre's conviction on federal bribery and extortion charges and later faced him in the 1990 election for mayor, said they certainly had some differences, but time has blurred the sharp edges.
"Over the past few years, we had a chance to chat very pleasantly," Mr. DeVaney said. "Our last time together was at the dedication of the clock at the center of Broad Street at the old J.B. White building. And we sat together and had a great time. I guess the common thread was we said how differently we would have done things. I think there was a common bond."
The Rev. Paulwyn Boliek, who first met Mr. McIntyre 15 years ago when they served on Augustans Together, a committee to promote race relations, said Mr. McIntyre was one of the moving forces behind the organization.
"He was a very bright guy and had a very creative mind."
Harrell Tiller, who served on the old Richmond County Commission with Mr. McIntyre from 1975-78, said Mr. McIntyre came up with some great ideas for the city.
"He was a fine gentleman," Mr. Tiller said.
Local historian Dr. Jimmy Carter credits Mr. McIntyre with many downtown projects.
"He was a visionary," Dr. Carter said. "Most of the things you see downtown today were out of his mind. Ed was very smart, dynamic and innovative person whose service did not have an opportunity to go to fruition. He could have contributed a lot more if he had been allowed to."
"Ed was one of the greatest visionaries for this community, but never had the opportunity to fulfill it."
- Solomon Walker, longtime friend, college classmate
"He should be honored by having his name on the riverwalk. He loved Augusta and wanted to continue serving Augusta."
- Charles Walker, former state senator
"He was a fine gentleman."
- Harrell Tiller, former county commissioner
"He wanted to make a difference, and he did - for the entire community, Augusta was his home and he wanted it to be the best, and wanted everyone to get along as one."
- Walter Hornsby, former deputy Augusta administrator
On Augustans Together "he was one of the moving forces behind that. He was a very bright guy and had a very creative mind."
- the Rev. Paulwyn Boliek
"Mac was a good person. He was a people person. He thought his calling was to help others."
- Marion Barnes, Richmond County school board
"A lot of the things that I learned about working with people and about leadership came from watching him."
- Willie Mays, city commissioner
"Certainly, I had a great deal of respect for him as a politician, as a community person,"
- Charles DeVaney, former mayor
Staff Writer Kate Lewis contributed to this article.
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.