Hollis “Olin” Hackney Jr.

Fred Astaire (the cat) has taken to his chair; the young tuxedo cat knows that his best buddy, Olin, is not here. He has wrapped himself into a ball to sleep through his grief because he has lost his person, and there are many, many friends and family members in Cedartown and beyond who feel the same way this week.

Hollis “Olin” Hackney Jr., known to all as “Olin” or “Big O”, lost a sudden battle with cancer on March 6, 2024. Olin was someone that everyone in town knew – he made friends easily and kept them for life. He rarely met a stranger.

Home was Cedartown, Georgia, where Olin lived having been born in Rome, Georgia on April 19,1946.

He grew up in the Benedict neighborhood, the son of Hollis Olin Hackney, Sr., (1914 – 1995) and Ida Lee Wright Hackney (1912 – 1979) and the grandson of Rufus Oscar Wright (1882-1951) and Ida Jane Hood Wright (1875-1973), and Joseph William Hackney (1874-1952) and Nancy Ann Thompson (1873-1946).

He was part of the youth group of First Baptist Church in Cedartown, where he met a young Martha Susan Ward and wooed her until she agreed to be his sweetheart. Olin and Susan went on to date throughout their years at Cedartown High School, and both were part of the 1963 AAA State Championship football team (Olin was a tight end and Susan was a cheerleader). They graduated from Cedartown High School in May 1964, whereupon Olin headed to the University of Georgia (where he joined the Kappa Alpha fraternity) and Susan went north to what was then known as North Georgia College. Time and distance could not cool their attraction, however, and within three years Susan had transferred to UGA and an engagement was announced.

They married in the chapel of First Baptist Church in Cedartown on September 2, 1967 to the delight of all. Susan and Olin moved to Rome, Georgia following graduation from UGA in 1968 (Olin having earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration), and Olin started working for Georgia Power Company. Work promotions followed, and the young couple soon moved to Summerville, Georgia and eventually back home to Cedartown.

As things do with young married couples, children soon arrived, Kathryn Hackney Smith in 1970 and Stewart Neal Hackney in 1974. In 1979, Olin left Georgia Power Company and joined the team at H. E. Hennigh, Inc., which would prove to be the perfect use of his many construction – related talents. He and Susan bought a piece of land on Northside Drive, and Olin invested a lot of sweat equity and built the family home that still stands there today.

Kathryn and Stewart progressed through the local public schools, with Kathryn graduating from Cedartown High in 1988 and Stewart graduating from the same institution in 1992. Stewart went on to play football at Presbyterian College, while Kathryn headed to Auburn University instead of UGA to Olin’s eternal chagrin (he never ceased calling her “turkey buzzard”).

Of course, Olin’s real pride were his grandchildren, two boys and two girls. Grandson Jackson is a junior at Clemson University studying political science, and grandson Cole is a senior at Riverside Preparatory Academy and headed off to college. Granddaughter Cecelia (“Cece”) is a freshman at The George Washington University where she is a starter on the softball team, and granddaughter Charlotte is a junior at North Atlanta High School and is committed to play softball for Georgia Tech. Olin loved to follow all of the various sports activities of this crew over the years, and he was avidly watching Cece’s softball games on ESPN Plus just in the past few weeks.

Anyone who met Olin realized quickly that he needed to be busy; sitting idle was not a talent with which he was blessed. In his early years in Cedartown, he served on the Board of Education, and after retiring, he worked with various committees of the City of Cedartown and helped to steer new business development to the community.

In recent years, Olin and Susan dedicated their talents to First Baptist Church, where Olin volunteered as an upstairs usher and the pair helped to administer the Memorial Fund and served on the bereavement committee (Olin’s corn pudding will be attributed to Susan’s credit for years to come).

He also had a soft spot for animals, and in addition to his beloved golden retrievers and sheepdogs, he adopted stray and shelter cats and treated them to soft beds, never-ending stinky food and unconditional love.

Olin is survived by his wife of 57 years, Susan Ward Hackney; daughter Kathryn Hackney Smith and granddaughters Cece Smith and Charlotte Smith, all of Atlanta, Georgia; son Stewart Hackney, daughter-in-law Mandy Jackson Hackney and grandsons Jackson Hackney and Cole Hackney, all of Dacula, Georgia; sister Sandra Hackney Roberts of Andalusia, Alabama; and much-loved nieces and cousins.

A Memorial Service for Olin Hackney will be held at the Cedartown First Methodist Church on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 2:00 p.m., with Reverend Wayne Benefield officiating. The family will receive friends beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the church.

Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Darrin Kines, Kenneth Mitchell, Jimmy Carter, Harold Wyatt, Bruce Casey, Dicky Chandler, Doug Elliot, Lloyd Murphy, Rachel Kines, Charity Wallace, Ken Woods, Mike McRae, Steve Timms, and Eddard Graves.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Olin’s memory to the Cedartown Polk County Humane Society (3416 Rockmart Highway, Cedartown, GA 30125, Attention Charlotte Harrison) and to the First Baptist Church Memorial Fund (101 N College St, Cedartown, GA, 30125).

The Smith & Miller Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Mr. Hollis “Olin” Hackney, Jr.

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