South Georgia Tech President Emeritus Sparky Reeves passes away

Published 2:02 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – Gary Lamar “Sparky” Reeves, 74, who served as President of South Georgia Technical College from August 2004 through September 2015, passed away at his home on August 2, 2023.  His funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, August 6, 2023 at First Methodist Church, 200 South Lee Street in Americus, GA.  A graveside service will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery on Rees Street in Americus.

Reeves served the college for over 42 years.  He began his career first as an accounting, math, and psychology instructor, then became a vocational instructor supervisor, and later served as Vice President of Economic Development prior to being named President.  His “Every Day is Special” philosophy, had a tremendous impact on the college and the communities served by South Georgia Technical College.

“Sparky Reeves has left an internal legacy in the lives of the thousands of students who came through South Georgia Tech during the many years he worked here.  He will forever be in our hearts as a caring, dedicated, and committed educator.  We will miss Sparky,” said SGTC President Dr. John Watford.  SGTC lowered the flags to half staff on the campus in memory of Reeves.

Reeves was the first sitting President in the Technical College System of Georgia system to have the “President Emeritus” status voted on and approved from the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia prior to his official retirement day.

During his Presidency, Reeves improved the physical appearance of the college campus by having more than 500 live oak trees planted.  He oversaw the renovation of two existing college dormitories, almost doubled the Crisp County Center campus with an expansion, renovated an existing 75-year old World War II hangar into the Energy and Transportation Center Building, renovated the campus cafeteria, and began a $3.48 million renovation of the college’s Diesel Technology and Automotive Transportation buildings.  He assisted the college in building key partnerships with top businesses such as Caterpillar, John Deere, Georgia Power, Delta, Gulfstream, and others.

With Reeves at the helm, South Georgia Technical College received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.  The college’s educational offerings grew to include over 150 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate of credit courses.  The college was named one of the Top 100 Associate Degree producing Colleges in the Nation for three consecutive years, selected as a finalist for the Technical System of Georgia College of the Year, and had one of the longest running enrollment increases in the state system.

The college earned national recognition with its men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics and student organizations and continued to provide outstanding job placement for graduates.  Reeves helped mold South Georgia Technical College into the “Complete College Experience.”

He received the following awards and honors during his lifetime: Americus Kiwanis Club Award; Americus-Sumter County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year; Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen’s Award; Business Council of Georgia Achievement; Governor South Georgia District Collegiate Civitan Club; GSW Aeolian Award; GSW Kaleidoscope Award; Outstanding Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow; Outstanding Service Award and inaugural Sparky Reeves Sumter Trustee Lifetime Achievement Award; President of GSW Civitan Club; Rotary Club Outstanding Citizen Award; Rotary Club “Paul Harris Fellow;” Sam Walton Business Leader; and Technical College Foundation of Georgia Benefactor of the Year.  He also served on the TCSG State Foundation board.

He is survived by his wife, Allene Camp Reeves of Americus; children, Kevin Reeves (Jenny) of Americus, Amanda “Mandy” Reeves Young (Ryan) of Americus, and Ryan Reeves of Boulder, Colorado. Grandchildren, Parker Reeves, Will Reeves, Tate Young, and Reeves Young, all of Americus. Nieces and nephews, Cheryl Dieckmann of Kennesaw, George Dieckmann (Susan) of Newnan, Matthew Sandlin (Jennifer) of Sharpsburg, and Dani Johnson of Nashville, TN. Also surviving are sister and brother-in-law Marcia and Bobby Johnson of Kennesaw, GA.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Sparky & Allene Reeves Scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA 31709 or the Pi Kappa Phi Gamma XI Legacy Scholarship at Georgia Southwestern State University Foundation.