Private graveside funeral services for Harold J. Ragan, 91, of Cairo, GA, will be held on Thursday, August 27, 2020, in Greenwood Cemetery, Cairo, GA. Rev. Christy Bandy will officiate. Mr. Ragan passed away at his home on Monday, August 24, 2020.
Harold was born in Sparks, GA on November 5, 1928 and reared on a farm in Grady County. He attended ABAC in 1948-49 and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1950 with a BS degree in Agriculture Education. His scholastic record earned him the Phi Kappa Phi honor. Upon graduation, he began teaching Vocational Agriculture at Jakin High School in Early County in August 1950. His country called, and he responded by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in July 1951. He applied and was accepted into the Air Force Officer Candidate School from which he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in June 1952. During his tour of active duty, Harold saw duty in Korea as an administrative officer. He served as 3rd Bomb Wing Air Base Group adjutant and was released from active duty in November 1953. Harold completed a 28 year career in the U. S. Air Force on active duty and active reserve, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Upon retirement in 1981, he was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal.
Harold returned to teaching in January 1954, and married Marjorie Aldredge of Grady County on July 15, 1956. During that year, he returned to UGA to pursue a master of education degree. Using his G.I. Bill benefits and a grant through the Department of Agricultural Education, Harold completed the academic requirements and was awarded the Master of Education Agricultural Education Degree in 1957 and immediately returned to his love—teaching Vocational Agriculture at Butler High School in Butler, GA. In 1970, Harold completed the academic requirements and was awarded the six-year Specialist Degree in Agricultural Education. He went on to a 36 year career in his chosen field, retiring as Grady County Young Farmer Teacher after eleven years at Cairo High School, his alma mater.
Harold was very active in the civic affairs of the communities where he lived and taught. He served as president of two community Lions Clubs, president of the Cairo Rotary Club, and member of Chambers of Commerce. The Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year and awarded him the Community Service Award. He was also a Mason and a Shriner. The Dawson United Methodist Church named the Harold Ragan family their Church Family of the Year in 1974. He and his family were active members of the United Methodist Church wherever they lived. Harold served as chairman of the Administrative Board, chairman of the Council of Ministries, and Lay Speaker.
In 1986, Harold was elected to the Georgia Senate. He served eight two-year terms. In five of those, he ran unopposed. He served on the Senate Agriculture Committee for sixteen years, the last ten as its chairman. During his entire Senate career, Senator Ragan served either on the Higher Education or Education Committee. He was a great champion for Vocational/Technical Education, Technical and Adult Education, and Higher Education.
Harold and Marjorie’s three sons also graduated from UGA with degrees in agriculture. They have seven grandchildren. He is survived by: wife, Marjorie Aldredge Ragan of Cairo, GA; sons, Hal Ragan (Pam) of Ellijay, GA, Tim Ragan (Sylvia) of Lakeland, GA, Tom Ragan of Madisonville, LA; grandchildren, Katie Ragan of Atlanta, GA, James Ragan (Brittany) of Waycross, GA, Callie Ragan of Lakeland, GA, Courtney Ragan of Los Angeles, CA, Devon Richir (Ruth) of Cartersville, GA, Clayton Ragan of Corvallis, OR, Jackson Ragan of Hammond, LA; brother, Tommy D. Ragan (Betty) of Cairo, GA; nieces and nephews, Ray Ulm, Annelle Lauder, Susan Croft, Ken Johnson, and Daniel Dill.
He was preceded in death by: his parents, Grover W. and Annie Harrell Ragan; sisters Willie Kay Ragan Ulm (Pete), Valda Lee Ragan Johnson (Tom); and a brother, Grover W. Ragan, Jr.
The family wants to express their gratitude and appreciation for the love and care shown by Shirley Smith.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Harold’s memory to: Sen. Harold Ragan Agricultural Education Scholarship Fund, ABAC13, 2008 Moore Highway, Tifton, GA 31793; or the Cairo First United Methodist Church, 318 South Broad Street, Cairo, GA 39828.
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