Melvin M. Mobley Jr. turns 90 Monday and part of the celebration will be a gathering of his large family.
The patriarch to five generations has 64 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He attended Long County schools and, after graduating, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1945, serving during World War II. He earned a WWII Victory Medal.
Mobley and Carrie Ann Hill married on Thanksgiving Day 1947. They have nine children together: Patricia A. Mobley Lawson, Jerry Maxwell Mobley (deceased), Debra F. Mobley-Sadler, Avia Marie Nix, Melvin Mobley III, Mark Terrell, Michael Jeffrey, Juandalyn Michelle and Mitchell Barry.
He made only a couple of requests of his children - to check on their mother and come home for Thanksgiving to celebrate their anniversary.
Mobley was a member of an all-male gospel choir called the Voices of Wayne. Master barber is one of his titles after he earned a barber’s license from barber school in Tyler, Texas. He also worked for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
His family considers one of his greatest accomplishments to be following God’s instructions by leading the family prayer and Bible reading.
His children shared some of their favorite memories.
"When I was a little girl, I always wanted to follow my daddy," Lawson, his firstborn daughter, said. "He said, ‘Baby you can come, but you got to keep up.’ Daddy was very tall, so consequently I learned how to walk fast. I am just now learning how to walk slower."
"My daddy taught me never to quit and he said to never give up," Mobley-Sadler said. "Those words have stood the test of time with me and helped me through countless situations. I learned how to follow through and not quit. Because of those words I was able to complete my Ph.D."
Nix called her father an original.
"There is no other man like him," she said. "I feel that no one can do what my daddy does and has done for me. He is a one-of-a-kind dad—the original ‘man from Waycross.’"
Melvin Mobley III said he learned how to keep his word and how to face fear, while improvising and adapt to situations.
"Daddy said that your word is your bond and if you tell someone you were doing a thing, then you did it. I learned how to be tough and not complain. That toughness has served me well throughout my life and career," he said.
Mobley kept the family in church every Sunday, Terrell said.
"I appreciated that as an adult," Terrell said. "Going through basic training in the Army was a breeze because of the way I was raised."
"He taught me never to be afraid of people and that he would not let anyone hurt his family," Michael Mobley said. "Daddy made us tough. That is why I went into the Marines as they had nothing on my daddy."
Daughter Juandalyn Mobley is Mobley’s current caretaker in Hinesville. She said her father is the "type of man who would give you the shirt off his back and not expect anything in return."
Mitchell Mobley remembers how his father would come to their rescue and use that opportunity as a moment for a lesson.
"He would come to your rescue and bring you home," he said. "Daddy would talk to you once you were home about what you needed to do in order to become a better person. Once the discussion was over it was not mentioned again."