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Bartow Daniel (Dan) Ragsdale, 83, passed away peacefully at home on January 6, 2024. Faith, family, and football were woven into the tapestry of his life. He was a loyal member of Covington First United Methodist Church where he sang in the Chancel and Singing Ambassadors choirs and served in many ways through his Josie Goode Sunday School Class and Committee memberships. He helped to establish a gospel quartet, The Joyful Messengers, with choir members from Lithonia Baptist Church and relished the opportunities to uplift others through music while making a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Dan was born in Decatur, Georgia on December 10, 1940 to the late Emma Lee Daniel Ragsdale and the late R. Inman Ragsdale and moved to the family homeplace in Rock Chapel within two years. A highlight of his younger years was attending Camp Glisson in Dahlonega, Georgia and later working as a lifeguard there. Upon graduation from Lithonia High School in 1957, Dan attended Oxford College of Emory University and graduated with the Class of 1959. He went on to study at Georgia Southwestern and then transferred to the University of Georgia where his love of Georgia Bulldog football began. He pledged Kappa Alpha Order and was looking forward to his senior year when his father passed away in the spring of 1961. He returned home to help his mother with the family business and worked while he went to school in Atlanta. He obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University in 1963.
After serving two years in the U.S. Army at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, Dan embarked on a rewarding career in college publishing spanning four decades that took him all over the country. He rose through the ranks with Holt, Rinehart and Winston and then moved to Random House which became part of the McGraw-Hill Company. He loved building relationships with college professors and mentoring sales representatives. Throughout his career, Dan was able to maintain an active participation in athletic activities including high school football officiating, golf, youth sport associations, church softball, and attending all home and away Georgia Football games with the Oaktree Tailgate Gang.
Dan retired from McGraw-Hill College Publishing in 2004 and his retirement years brought him more time to devote to his grandsons and their endeavors as well as increased involvement with alumni activities for Oxford College of Emory University through service on the Board of Counselors, Scholarship Committee and Local Arrangement Chair for Class of 59 Reunions. He also served as a precinct manager for the Newton County Board of Elections. He continued to sing, travel, keep in touch with friends and colleagues, and attend football games as opportunities allowed.
Dan was dearly loved by his family and will be missed. He is survived by his wife of 53 years Gayle Brown Ragsdale, and daughter Elizabeth Ragsdale Cantrell, and sons Frank Ragsdale and Chris (Cynthia) Born, and grandsons Connor (Mckenzie) Cantrell and Courtland Cantrell, sisters Katherine (Frank) Chandley and Marilee (Jim) McNeely and brother Robert (Katie) Ragsdale and a host of nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends at J.C. Harwell and Sons on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life service will be held at Covington First United Methodist Church on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. The family will have a private burial service at Rock Chapel Historic Cemetery after the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Covington First United Methodist Church Music Ministry, 1113 Conyers Street, Covington, Georgia 30014 or your favorite charity.