Obituaries for Thurs., Nov. 13, 2014

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 13, 2014


Mr. William Worth “Bill” Gantt, 63, passed away on Nov. 10, 2014, in a Dothan hospital after a brief illness.

Funeral services will be today at 2 p.m., at Foreman Funeral Home. Dr. Fred Karthaus will officiate. Interment will follow in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery. Visitation for friends will be from 12:30-2 p.m.

A 1969 graduate of Andalusia High School, William earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in industrial arts from Auburn University. Upon graduation, he initially taught in Loachapoka, but soon was employed by the Columbus, Ga., city school system, from which he retired after 30 years of service.

Known all his life for his curiosity, his playfulness, and his love of friends and family, his activities and accomplishments are too many to list. Among other things, he founded the astronomy club at Andalusia High School. Years later, he became active in historical preservation in his home state of Alabama and in his beloved adopted state of Georgia, where he participated in such organizations as Historic Columbus and the Georgia Historic Trust. He was instrumental in the relocation of a historic church building to the historic district in Columbus and was a founding member of the St. George Anglican Church established there. In addition, he bought, lived in, and lovingly restored a home in the historic District of Columbus, a home featured in numerous historic tours. He was renowned as a consummate host, entertaining in his home many distinguished and colorful guests, including Truman Capote. Building on his skills as a host and as a connoisseur of food and drink, Bill founded and was co-owner of the Cannon BrewPub in Columbus and in Mobile. On festive occasions, he might be seen flying over Columbus and the beautiful Chattahoochee River in the Cannon BrewPub’s hot-air balloon, the Beer.

William had many other interests, as well, including boating, horse-racing, painting and poetry. Pursuing his interest in boating, he attended the Wooden Boat School in Maine. Many summers, as a keelboat captain, he sailed to various ports on the Gulf Coast. In Columbus, he was a captain in the Georgia Powerboat Association.

Other activities he volunteered for included, for instance, the annual Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens, where he sometimes was seen awarding trophies to the race winners. He was also a talented artist and poet. After retiring from teaching and moving back to the family home in Andalusia, William, a skilled draftsman and carpenter, built along the Conecuh River a cabin among the trees that he named the Tree House. There and at the old house called the Shack, he often hosted family and friends in his inimitable style.

How understandable now is the wish expressed in one of William’s favorite poems, “O, Captain! My Captain,” by Walt Whitman: “Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills.” As his lifelong friend Phillip Gantt Rawls wrote, “The world will seem smaller without Bill in it. His enthusiasm for life spread to everyone he met.” William would likely tell his family and friends, as he often did, “Be just, and fear not.”

William is survived by his former wife and beloved friend, Elizabeth Brown of Montgomery; his mother, Jacqueline S. Gantt of Andalusia, whom he lovingly cared for in recent years; his brother, Charles D. Gantt and wife Jean of Andalusia; niece, Camille W. Gantt of Atlanta; nephews, Chase and Grayson Gantt of Andalusia, whom he loved as if they were his own; a cousin and partner in adventure, Libby Schrader of Daphne; and many relatives, friends and former students who loved him dearly. He is preceded in death by his father, Dr. Davis L. Gantt.



Mrs. Myrtle Russell Ganus, 73, of Andalusia, passed away Sun., Nov. 9, 2014, at her residence.

Funeral services were held on Wed., Nov. 12, at the Keahey Funeral Home chapel.

Survivors include her son, Joey (Nathena) Ganus of Maryville, Tenn.; daughters, Kay Brannon (Brian Chance) of Gantt, Diane G. (Mike) Watson of Red Level, Jennifer (Kenneth) Burgans of Gantt, Wendy (Russell) Thompson of Andalusia and Joni (Larry) Brown of Andalusia; brothers, Tommie Russell of Opp and Rex (Joan) Russell of Andalusia; sisters, Hazel Searcy and Betty Jean Rhodes, all of Andalusia; grandchildren, Dana Brannon, Duston Brannon, Anthony Carter, Hannah Carter, Alex Thompson, Ali Brown, Taylor Brown and Isaac Ganus; great-grandchild, Hayden Brannon; and eight step-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years and the father of her children, Elmer Ganus.