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Fayette BoE member Sam Tolbert succumbs to cancer

Fayette County Board of Education member Sam Tolbert passed away in the afternoon hours of Sept. 22. The first-term Post 5 board member had struggled recently with esophageal cancer.

Tolbert, 64, was elected to the Fayette County Board of Education in November 2010. He was a semi-retired senior manager who had served as an adjunct professor of mathematics at Gordon College in Barnesville.

School board Chairman Bob Todd Thursday afternoon said Tolbert had been in hospice care for the past 2-3 weeks and had passed away during the mid-afternoon hours while at a hospice facility in Snellville.

It was more than a year ago that the late-stage cancer was discovered. That discovery came when a nurse spotted it on his liver during an echo-cardiogram.

The case more recently progressed to Stage 4 where the metastatic cancer has spread to distant sites in the body, Todd said.

Todd in his comments reflected on the contribution made by Tolbert to the Fayette County community.

“I only knew Sam for a short time, but he was someone you instantly liked. He was a good guy,” Todd said. “And he was a very good board member. As a friend and colleague I will miss him. And my sympathies and that of the school board and school system go out to his family.”

Tolbert prior to his election pledged to focus on the Fayette school system’s budget. Tolbert kept his word, and during his time on the board he maintained the posture as a fiscal conservative while holding to the high standards for which Fayette County schools are known.

Funeral arrangements are not yet known but will be posted on this website once they are made available.

Information pertaining to the need to fill Tolbert’s unexpired term will be forthcoming.



NUK_1's picture

Wow....I had no idea his cancer was that late stage. My condolences to his family.

This is also a loss to the BOE as Tolbert was the 3rd vote who broke the stranglehold the Ditz Twins Smola and Smith had for years on the BOE and the utter fiasco they created.

suggarfoot's picture

Was a very good man. I too, liked him the first time I met him. He was so genuine.

He was sick when he ran, but knew he could make a difference in the Fayette county school system. And he did. When he moved into that slot you could see he was having a very positive effect on the system.

He was a very brave man to do that as sick as a was, and I hope everyone knows the sacrifice he made. He did it for our kids. Again, he was a very good man.

suggarfoot's picture


ginga1414's picture

Aside from the fact that Sam was a member of my family, I have to say that he was without a doubt the bravest person I've ever known.

As a young man and after serving in the Navy, Sam's goals revolved around education. When he and my sister were first married, he worked during the day and attended college at night. Sam received his bachelor's, master's, and his doctorate degrees by attending night classes.

He served on the Boards at Georgia Tech and Southern Tech. He taught classes in both of those schools all the while working at Scientific Atlanta and Rockwell International.

Sam and my sister raised two wonderful children. For the last year and a half, the light of his life has been a beautiful brown eyed grandbaby girl. To some folks my brother-in-law was known as Dr. Tolbert. Some of his students at Gordon College called him Dr. Sam. Family called him just plain Sam or Bubba. But, when Miss Kyla called him PawPaw his face lit up like a Christmas tree. I have seen the time when he couldn't even hold "A Little Golden Book" in his hands, but he would have Kyla crawl up in his lap and he would read to her. My sister had to hold the book for him, but Sam did the reading. I've heard Sam tell Kyla's Mama and Daddy, "Read to my baby everyday!"

Sam loved education, and he loved the fact that he could contribute to the process.

Cyclist's picture

My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. He was truly an outstanding man.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

have "Sam" as a family member. What a loss to the family,our students, the community and the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

MajorMike's picture

Sorry for your loss. Sam Tolbert's passing was a big loss to Fayette County as well.

ginga1414's picture

On behalf of my family, I want to say Thank You for all the good thoughts and prayers. I will put all of your comments in a book so that Miss Kyla will know a little more about her PawPaw when she is older.

My condolences go out to his family and friends.

My condolences go out to his family and friends.

Dondol's picture

God Bless you, you are all in our prayers.

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