William Graham Ponder, Sr. died Oct. 13, 2013 at his residence at Marsh’s Edge on St. Simons Island. He was 89 years old.
He was born November 5, 1923, in Rutledge, the son of Paul Holloway and Mary Graham Ponder. He attended Emory University and graduated from Clemson University. He was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Mr. Ponder served in the United States Navy during World War II.
He married Adelaide Wallace in 1948. Ponder was a cotton broker until he and Adelaide bought Madison’s weekly newspaper, The Madisonian, in 1957. He became publisher and Mrs. Ponder the editor of the progressive and award-winning newspaper that helped guide Madison and Morgan County through both tumultuous and flourishing periods over the next four decades, during which time Madison became known as one of the best small towns in the United States. He and Mrs. Ponder were also editor and publisher of the Lake Oconee Free Press.
He served as president of the Georgia Press Association, secretary-treasurer of Greater Georgia Printers and was a charter member of the Atlanta Press Club. He served as president of the Madison Kiwanis Club and the Morgan County Health Association. He was involved in many civic activities and played an integral role in the development and beautification of Madison and Morgan County. He served on the Madison City Council and was a member of Madison Investment.
Mr. Ponder was a founding member of the re-establishment of the Episcopal Church in Morgan County and the purchase and renovation of Advent Episcopal Church. He served as senior warden for many years and was known for his leadership and beautiful floral arrangements in the church.
He was a rural mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service for nearly 30 years. He and Mrs. Ponder retired to St. Simons Island in 2007.
Mr. Ponder had a great joy for life, family, friends and nature.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Mary Graham Ponder, his brother, Paul Ponder, Jr. and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Barrett and Anne Wallace Walker. He is survived by his wife, Adelaide Wallace Ponder of St. Simons Island; his daughters, Anne Ponder Young (Charles) of Madison, Mary Graham Ponder Foster (Jim), and Douglas Ponder Suto, of St. Simons Island; and a son, William Graham Ponder, Jr. (Dana) of Atlanta. His grandchildren are Beth Tamplin Jones (Arthur) of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mary Anne Tamplin Leathers (Hano) of Nashville, Tenn., Harold David Tamplin, Jr. (Rachel) of Wimberley, Texas, William Suto of San Diego, Calif.; Ponder and John Suto and Graham Foster all of St. Simons Island, Adelaide Ponder of Atlanta and Darla Pennington (Dan) of Madison. Great-grandchildren are Evan and Adelaide Jones of U.S. Virgin Islands, Charles, William and Raine Tamplin of Wimberley, Texas and Dustin Pennington of Madison. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Margaret Nix Ponder of Atlanta and brothers-in-law William Wallace (Joanne) of Atlanta and Leonard Wallace of Madison and by his dear friend and “adopted” granddaughter Rachel Barnes of St. Simons Island.
Visitation is Friday, Oct. 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Church of the Advent Parish Hall. A memorial service is on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Church of the Advent at 11 a.m. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church of the Advent, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, St. Simons Land Trust, Hospice of the Golden Isles or a charity of your choice.
The family would like to express a special appreciation to Mr. Ponder’s caregivers, Gloria Spaulding, Jackie Mitchell and the staff of The Retreat at Marsh’s Edge.