Read Gary Dodd's obituary here. It was updated Tuesday morning.
Hinesville entrepreneur and philanthropist Gary W. Dodd died Saturday morning.
In addition to owning and operating eateries in the region, Dodd, who moved to the area more than 30 years ago, was known for his community support and was named Humanitarian of the Year in 2011 by the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless.
Judy Shippey, Dodd’s friend and fellow United Methodist Church member, said he’d been battling skin cancer for some time, but she was unsure whether Dodd had been hospitalized at the time of his death.
“He has been in and out of treatment for the last several years, so he — as I understand it — had just decided that he was going to spend his time quietly, and that was the last word we got,” she said, adding that he had participated in several medical trials in Florida.
Shippey said Dodd was a great humanitarian who never stopped giving to the community and helping others. He supported the Boy Scouts of America and previously was named Scout of the Year. Dodd also was a member of several boards, including the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless’ board of directors, and took on many leadership roles in his church, such as serving on the pastor-parish relations committee and the financial committee.
“He was really wonderful and such a humanitarian, and he gave so much to this community. In fact, just the other day, I discovered something new. Over at the YMCA, they have a chapel off the lobby as you go in. And I looked at the sign — the plaque beside it — and it said that the room was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Whitman Fraser, courtesy of Gary Dodd and the McDonald’s Corporation. Gary Dodd had had the plaque made and dedicated the chapel to (Fraser’s) memory,” Shippey said. “And Gary was just so dedicated and conscientious about his leadership roles in the Methodist church here. As long as Gary was able to go, he was there every Sunday.”
Dodd also had been a partner in the development of the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless, along with Dr. Alicia Kirk, since it was founded in 2006. Dodd provided a home to house the homeless men who came to the center, and the center called it the Dodd House, according to Shippey. He and Kirk also bought Shippey’s previous home on McArthur Drive in Hinesville to use as the women’s house, and they called it the Shippey House.
“He was my very dearest, closest friend, my business partner, and I don’t know how the Kirk Healing Center would have survived without Gary’s support,” Kirk said. “He’s a wonderful man of God, a dear friend. The community has lost one of its greatest humanitarians.”
Gary Stanberry, Dodd’s former business partner, agreed.
“He was a great example and a mentor as a business person and as a human being,” Stanberry said. “I learned so much, and I’m glad the Lord blessed me with an opportunity to know and be a part of Gary Dodd’s life.”
Liberty County Development Authority Chairman Allen Brown, another of Dodd’s associates, emphasized how active Dodd was in all facets of the community.
“He supported almost every humanitarian-type project there was in town. He was always in the middle of all the other things, like Relay for Life, and just everything that went on in our community,” Brown said. “He was involved civically and was very active in all the political-type arenas and was very supportive of people and stood for what was good for Hinesville, Ga., and Liberty County.”