Cover photo for Georgia Blackston's Obituary
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Georgia Blackston

d. October 1, 2022

Georgia Blackston

North Augusta, SC – Mrs. Georgia Lee Blackston, 91, transitioned into everlasting life with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Her most treasured role was as a loving wife of 58 ½ years to the late Charles T. “Charlie” Blackston.

Born Georgia Lee Durden to Beatrice and Jack Durden on June 14,1931 in Norristown, Ga, she was the 12th of 13th children. As a child she picked cotton on the farm where they lived and made excellent grades in school. Her childhood was difficult in many ways, but she placed great value in the lessons she learned from it. Her family would say it was those experiences that formulated the greatest story teller they’ve ever known. She often spoke of a core memory: a time her mother told her she was “smart”, and that bit of encouragement instilled a confidence that inspired her throughout her life.

Many of Georgia’s siblings were decades her senior. Each of them held a special place in her heart and shared many of her fondest memories. Fifteen years her senior, her sister Flo became a mother figure to her as a teenager. Flo had dressed as a man and hitchhiked her way to Augusta when she was seventeen and Georgia was only two. One of her favorite memories was a summer spent with Flo at the age of nine. Flo had come home as one of their brothers became ill and convinced their mom to let her take Georgia back with her to Augusta for the entire summer.

It was her first taste of the big city, and it became a trip that would shape her life. Flo’s apartment was right on Broad St. and had a terrace. Flo made “the best sandwiches she’d ever had”. They’d sit together on the terrace eating sandwiches and ice cream bars; watching the soldiers pass below. That summer she went to see the premiere of “Gone With The Wind” at the Imperial Theatre on her own. Her sister, Janene (age 11), visited for two weeks and Flo took them for their first permanent waves and made them matching pink and blue dresses. She felt adored, and it confirmed her idea that there was the “more” she imagined in the world.

The beginnings of knowing that the “freshest” hand-selected ingredients make for the best cooking started on that farm, where she was born. Their fried chicken, in those days, started in the backyard wringing the chicken’s neck. While a good chef 's secret will never be revealed, she’d readily share with you that great fried chicken starts with a room temperature chicken. She credited her sister, Margie, with teaching her their brother Woodrow’s frying method; which if you know, you know, is the stuff legends are made of.

She played basketball in high school and would wait until she was half way down the road to remove her skirt when she left the house, because “Mama couldn’t know we wore shorts to play.” She took her first trip to Daytona Beach when she graduated from high school. Her Dad lived in Savannah at the time and agreed to pay for her trip and shopping for new clothes to take. It was a gesture she wasn’t accustomed to, and one that left a mark on her heart. She shared her new clothes with her best girlfriend on the trip. Each day her friend would wear the new outfit she’d worn a couple days before. This was the first of many trips that made Daytona, Florida a special place in her heart.

At seventeen, Georgia ventured to live in Augusta with her sister Flo. At first she thought she would get an office job as she was great at typing and shorthand. But Mrs. Montgomery at Red Lion Tavern (now Grille) explained her potential to make four times a week in tips of what an office job would pay, if they were to train her properly. She learned how to serve left to right, and Red Lion Tavern became a stamp in her story. She again found confidence in being a great waitress. She served the likes of a young Billy Graham and many other celebrities and socialites who passed through Augusta in the upper room at the tavern.

Not too long later her sister Janene helped her secure a job at a cup factory, Lily Tulip. While it wasn’t her favorite job, there was a perk. After months of “talking to everyone in that plant except her,” he finally stopped at her station. Days later, they’d bump into each other at a dance spot and Charlie was there to offer her a ride after a night of jitterbugging. The next day he and his roommate and co-worker, Ty, worked up a plan to take Ty’s girlfriend, Mary, and Georgia on a road trip to picnic on Tybee Island Beach. Georgia and Mary prepared a lunch, and little did she know it was a day that would change her life forever. She insisted on taking the bus home from their meeting point, but he insisted she needed help with all those dishes. With witness, he never left her alone with the dirty dishes again. They became a real team that very day. They dated every single day for the next three months. Well, except for the one day when he said he needed to travel to see his parents in Atlanta. Much to her surprise he only lasted 24 hours and returned the next day.

Georgia and Charlie Blackston were married on July 22, 1950. Ty and Mary Booker accompanied them to a parsonage where they were married. They found an apartment together that next week, and the rest they say, is history. In the first year and over many years the Lord blessed them with three children, seven grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren.

They started on Virginia Avenue, where they had all three of their children. Georgia was a homemaker during the years she raised her children, making each house a true home. They eventually built their forever home on Fernwood Circle and it became home base for neighborhood children and the kids from Fleming Church; a playground for games of kickball and riding bikes with friends. That same backyard would later house a precious rose garden, woodworking shop, Charlie’s gaming pigeons, a pool with white swan inflatables for the grandkids built by their son, Charles, and hours of memories hunting Easter eggs, swinging on the hammock and playing tag.

Georgia and Charlie attended Fleming Baptist Church for 69 years. Her children have fond memories of her at summer bible school, serving cookies and making sure everything was “perfect.” Georgia taught Sunday school at Fleming and served in the children’s ministry for 25 years.

As her children walked across the street to Butler High School in the late sixties, she rounded the corner to attend Augusta Technical School where she trained in Cosmetology. Her kids were so proud and amazed that Mom was going to school too. She was a top student at ATS and whizzed through the training, passing her test with flying colors. Charlie built a beauty shop on the back of their home and she began her business which would span 37 years. She built a family of clients and relationships that turned clients and neighbors to friends. Her daughter Pam remembers begging for her to buy a radio for the shop so that it might muffle all the talking coming from the shop. She laughed and insisted that those ladies needed to talk. And talk they did, like a scene straight out of Steel Magnolias; She was a therapist, prayer warrior, confidant and friend. Her kids remember coming home from high school to the familiar smell of permanent waves. And her grandkids would later make that shop their playground: cleaning brushes, sorting gossip magazines, counting cash, and sweeping the floor as her “assistant”. She wasn’t the only one who made cash in that shop, as her grandchildren knew their free haircuts came with a dollar if they sat still. Even Lauren, who had no hair, would be wrapped in Nannie’s hot pink lace-trimmed cape, have her hair spritzed and pretend to be “cut.” She felt like one of the big kids. That’s what Nannie did, she made you feel special.

Known by many as Georgia, by her children as Mama, and by her grandchildren and great grandchildren as Nannie. There is one statement that might sum her up, “Mama just always knew how to make everything good”. From humble means had emerged a girl with great savvy. She demonstrated throughout her life that the “smart” her Mama first recognized in her wasn’t “book smarts,” it was common sense combined with street smarts and a pinch of moxie. She didn’t have the internet with measured recipes and fashion blogs, but she more than figured out “the good stuff” and how to become, by any standard, the most impeccable hostess her friends and family knew. Her meals were prepared with excellence, her table was set with love.

That excellence was applied to her work. She cherished going to hair shows in Atlanta, with other friends in the industry, there to learn and apply the newest techniques and styles. That excellence was applied to her style. She had a fashion sense that beat the fashion industry to animal print LONG before it had its moment. Into her 90’s her granddaughters still took her shoe hand-me-downs and her friends still came to her for beauty advice. But most of all, that excellence was her way of showing love to others. If you were ever a guest at her table, the recipient of a gift or a meal, slept in her guest room, or were styled by her, you saw that the excellence she strived for in each gesture was her way of showing love.

She and Charlie were truly one, but pursued their own friendships and interests. They spent years spending time and traveling with their friends the Jobes, the Taylors, and the Centers. She played bridge and was intentional about long lunches with her girlfriends. They vacationed every summer with their family in Daytona, Florida. Staying at the same beachfront motel, The Nomad, and eating at the same favorite restaurants on rotation, year after year. Her grandkids ran down to Nannie’s room for hairspray, a haircut, or a pimento cheese sandwich.

Her life was never quite the same after losing her Charlie in 2008, but she mustered the courage to continue to make good memories and celebrate milestones with her family. Her family would specifically like to thank her North Augusta neighbors, who helped lessen the isolation of Covid.

If you are reading this it was most important to her that her friends and family know that she “had such an incredible life with so many amazing memories”. She would credit that life to her Savior, her Charlie, and her dear friends and family.

Family members include her son: Charles T. Blackston, Jr. and wife Kerry; daughters: Vickie Corder; Pam Wheatley and husband Steve; grandchildren: Cal Forrest, Jr., Lauren Watson (Jeph), Shea Blackston (Joe), Chad Blackston (Haley), Drew Blackston (Amanda), Kayla Wheatley Schnitzler (Eric), Dylan Wheatley (Logan); great-grandchildren: Caleigh Watson, Ava Watson, Charlie Blackston, Hobbs Blackston, Claire Blackston, Ansley Georgia Blackston, Emmie Schnitzler, Ellie Schnitzler, and Tately Wheatley; and survived by one loving brother: Gene Durden.

The funeral service will be held on Monday, October 3, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel of Thomas Poteet & Son with Rev. Tracy Pressley officiating. The family will receive friends Monday, from 10:00 am until the service. Interment will follow in Westover Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Cal Forrest, Chad Blackston, Drew Blackston, Dylan Wheatley, Steve Wheatley, Joe Mathew, Jeph Watson, Eric Schnitzler.

Please see the website for additional information.

Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Georgia Blackston, please visit our flower store.

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Monday, October 3, 2022

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