George Thomas Mahaffey
George Thomas “Tom” Mahaffey, 80, of LaGrange Georgia passed away at his residence on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
Tom was born on Dec. 6, 1940, in LaGrange, Georgia to Howard Thomas(H.T.) Mahaffey and Virginia Louise Plyler Mahaffey.
Tom was a faithful member of Trinity Methodist Church(LaGrange), Decatur First United Methodist, Norcross First United Methodist, and The First United Methodist Church of LaGrange.
Tom is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy Lee Daniel Mahaffey, as well as their three children, Tommy Mahaffey(Margarita), Danny Mahaffey and Ila Jo Mahaffey Worthen(Thacher) and four grandchildren-Kade, Elle, Olivia Worthen, and Joshua Mahaffey. He is survived by his three younger brothers, Don, Randy and Rich. His love for his family was undeniable.
Tom began his love of basketball at the YMCA just a few hundred yards from their home in LaGrange, and he also participated in swimming and tennis at Callaway Rec Center sports program. Tom graduated LaGrange High School in 1958 where he played basketball and began a Mahaffey family basketball legacy.
Tom signed to play basketball at Clemson where his father H.T. had gone many years before. Ironically, it was his mother Louise who actually played basketball. Tom received a B.S. at Clemson in Textile Management and was a charter member of the Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity established at Clemson in 1959. At Clemson, Tom was the oldest of four brothers, all 6’7”-6’9”, and began what became a 12 year legacy for Clemson Tiger Basketball. Tom played center and was team captain his senior year. The Mahaffey boys all earned the status of the top career rebounders at Clemson. Tom moved on to receive a Masters in Textile Engineering at Georgia Tech and coached the Freshman Basketball Team. AllonGeorgia.com said it best in March of 2018 “as long as the ball bounces around LaGrange or Clemson, folks will remember the Mahaffey boys.”
After Georgia Tech, Tom worked at West Point Pepperell in Lanett Alabama.
In 1968, Tom and brother Don started Ply Mart, a plywood paneling company in Decatur, Georgia. Brothers Randy and Richie later joined. Ply Mart expanded to include other building materials with businesses in over 30 locations and over 1100 employees.
Tom loved his work, especially creating long term relationships with vendors. In 2006, Ply Mart was named by ProSales Magazine “2006 Dealer of the Year!”
Tom was an Eagle Scout and he continued to be involved with his sons’ Scout Troop 6 in Avondale Estates, Georgia. His oldest son, Tommy, reached the Eagle Scout status as well.
In the late 90’s, a chance family vacation to Costa Rica to celebrate Tom and Nancy’s “35th” wedding anniversary led to a vacation rental company that has lasted over 20 years.
Tom loved Costa Rica for the beauty and simple life. He loved the staff like they were family.
Anyone who ever met Tom knows that his most enduring quality and passion was his faith and desire to serve the Lord.
He never met a stranger. NEVER. He loved everyone and treated everyone equal. Tom always offered a quick smile and a powerful handshake. He was a big powerful man that was looked up to by his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren as a “Big Teddy Bear” and “Gentle Giant”.
Tom’s mission work touched many and included trips to Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Katrina Relief, Gulf Port Mission, Food CO Op in Norcross as well as most recently “Meals on Wheels” with Nancy and Danny in LaGrange.
Tom’s retirement was spent working on his cattle farm in Fredonia Alabama. Tom was a simple man and that was his “happy place.” Most recently Tom became increasingly involved in the “Pocket Cross Ministry” and it was evident that it was near and dear to his heart. The “Pocket Cross Ministry” began by Don in 2014 to encourage his son’s employment and to compliment his son’s love of woodworking tools and equipment. It is evident that this ministry is alive and well as you will find these crosses all across the world. Tom took them on missions trips and most recently to the hospitals to share with nurses and staff. Tom was involved in many prayer groups and also loved to teach his Sunday School classes. Tom leaves behind his beloved Christian Brothers from their Saturday morning Breakfast Club of which he was the senior member.
Though Tom was a workaholic, he always found time to laugh and have fun. When Tom was back home the last time, his brothers told stories and Tom belly laughed so hard. Everyone did. The laughter in the home those last days was infectious. Tom laughed at the stories of the infamous “ACE” mannequin that was often seen around LaGrange! Tom and his brothers were “typical boys” and always seemed to be up to something-but always innocent fun! His humor was evident even up until his last days.
Tommy, Danny and Ila’s favorite childhood memories include the month-long family vacations the family enjoyed in their “pop up” camper to the Four Corners Monument, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and then a month-long trip to New England, Canada, Novia Scotia and Washington DC 4th of July(200th year anniversary of the USA featuring the Beach Boys). There were also campouts to Cumberland Island and more. The family is blessed with these memories. The outdoors were always a huge part of their childhood and Tom’s favorite place to be.
“Big T” was so loved by his 4 grandchildren and he loved them so well. He would come to as many basketball, soccer or lacrosse games as possible, and he would often joke with his oldest grandson when he was going to “walk on” the Auburn Basketball team.
Tom will be sorely missed but his legacy is one that we should all strive for. He was a man of strong faith, loved his friends and family, and practiced what he preached.
May we all strive to be better people on this earth by his example.
It is our wish to honor Tom with memorial gifts to be made to The First United Methodist Church of LaGrange marked “missions” (401 Broad Street LaGrange GA 30240) and The Pocket Cross Ministry(ThePocketCrossMinistry.org).
The immediate family will have a “Celebration of Life” service Sunday, Feb. 21 at 1:30 p.m. that can be viewed online at lagrangefumc.org or on their Facebook page at LaGrange First UMC.
For online condolences, please visit our website at www.blufftonfuneralservices.com.
Services have been entrusted to Bluffton Funeral Services, Lanett, Alabama.