Family, friends remember pillar of Gainesville's Black community, WWII veteran

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Oct. 16—Returning from World War II to the Gainesville community, Arthur Lipscomb Jr. was described as a "pillar of society in the Black neighborhood (and) the south side" by American Legion Ninth District Commander Johnny Varner Jr.

Lipscomb, 96, died Monday, Oct. 11.

After 20 years of military service, Varner joined the American Legion Eugene Brown Post 521, a post established during segregation of which Lipscomb was also a member.

In 2009, the L.C. Pace Post 534 and the Eugene Brown Post 521, both being historically Black chapters, were merged to create the L.C. Pace-Eugene Brown Post 328.

Lipscomb later transferred his membership to the American Legion Post 7 on Riverside Drive. Varner said it was "kind of ironic that the post that he couldn't join when he first joined he ended up being a member of."

Varner said Lipscomb served as a mentor to him through the years.

"He always had some wisdom," Varner said. "Just like when you talk to your elders, you just listen."

The Grady Young Foundation, a community nonprofit, noted that Lipscomb was the first African-American to own a gas station in Gainesville-Hall County, a Gulf station on Athens Highway.

Family and friends described Lipscomb as a man who loved life and his church. He was in constant service to others and tried to inspire others to dream big.

"God don't make many people like him," said retired minister, the Rev. William Lipscomb Jr., who is also Arthur Lipscomb's second cousin.

Shirley Lipscomb said he was an industrious man who was well liked in the community. Shirley Lipscomb said Arthur Lipscomb would often provide shelter for new teachers coming into the Gainesville area that didn't have a place to stay.

"He would be recommended maybe from the principal of a school ... He was used as a reference to help," Shirley Lipscomb said.

Family and friends noted Arthur Lipscomb's commitment to helping the younger generation. Shirley Lipscomb recalled Arthur giving small part-time jobs to kids washing cars so they could pick up some spending money.

While William Lipscomb was at Savannah State University and Arthur Lipscomb was in the area, Arthur came by to see him and left him some change in an envelope.

"Anytime the church needed repair, he made sure that it was done," Shirley Lipscomb said.

Memorial Park Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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