SAVANNAH, Ga. - Honored in life as one of Savannah's most tireless community leaders, Frank Wooten died peacefully at home on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007, surrounded by his loving family. Mr. Wooten was perhaps best known to the public for his service on the Chatham County Commission, to which he was elected in 1984. That role and countless others earned him admiration and praise, stated openly and often. "A straight arrow, a square shooter, a good man" he was called upon his induction into the Savannah Business Hall of Fame. His pastor described Frank's "extraordinary gift for leading people, not pressuring, pulling nor pushing, but gently guiding, leading effectively and well." Mr. Wooten was born in East Bend, N.C., on Jan. 23, 1922, to Francis Lakey Wooten Sr. and Crawley Hennings Wooten. Mr. Wooten graduated from John W. Hanes High School in Winston-Salem, where he served as mayor of the student body. He received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and pursued graduate studies at the University of Houston. Mr. Wooten served as a U.S. Army captain in the infantry during World War II and the Korean conflict, receiving the Bronze Star. After holding the position of General Sales Manager of Armour Agricultural Chemical Co. in Atlanta, Ga., Mr. Wooten moved to Savannah to work with the Southern Nitrogen Co. He later became president of Kaiser Agricultural Chemical Corp. and served on the Kaiser International Corp. Board of Directors. After his retirement from Kaiser, he founded G&C Fertilizer Co. He was a recognized leader in the agricultural chemicals business, serving for six years on the Board of Directors of the Fertilizer Institute and as chairman from 1977 to 79. He also served on the District Export Council, as the governor's appointee to the Board of Industry & Trade of the State of Georgia, on the Savannah Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and as ex-officio member of the Savannah Port Authority. He was Savannah's Man of the Year in Industry in 1979 and elected to Savannah's Business Hall of Fame in 2005. He served for many years on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of First Bank of Savannah (now Wachovia). Mr. Wooten served the Savannah community in a multitude of ways. He was elected to the Chatham County Commission in 1984, served as chairman of the Coastal Area District Development Authority, served on the Coastal Area Planning and Development Authority, and received the Buttimer Award. He served United Way as general campaign chairman and as chairman of the board; Salvation Army as chairman of the board, during which time he led the campaign for and saw completion of facilities on Montgomery and Bee Roads; Parent and Child as president; Wesley Community Center as board member and chairman of its first Capital Campaign; May Street YMCA as Capital Campaign chairman; Georgia Heart Association as board member; Library Foundation as board member; Savannah Foundation as trustee; Coastal Garden and Bamboo Farm on the advisory board; and Union Mission as board member. For the Boy Scouts of America, he served on the Executive Board as chairman of advanced gifts for the capital fund drive and as vice president of finance for the district, receiving the Silver Beaver and Good Scout Awards. For Rotary Club of Savannah, he served on the board of directors and as president, honored as a Will Watt Fellow and Paul Harris Fellow. He was selected to be an Olympic Torch Bearer for the 1996 Olympics for his service to the community. As an advocate for the arts, Mr. Wooten was president and chairman of the Board of the Savannah Symphony Society and organizer and co-chairman of Georgia Citizens for the Arts. Mr. Wooten was a lifelong devoted member of the United Methodist Church. He was a dedicated Sunday school teacher for 25 years in the Fellowship and Philathea Classes at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church, where he also served as a trustee, chairman of the board, chairman of capital campaigns for church renovation and a new organ and lay speaker. He served on the Board of Pensions for the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church, the Board of Higher Education for the United Methodist Church, and as a Methodist Children's Home trustee. Mr. Wooten is survived by his beloved wife, Lois Cason Wooten of Savannah; his daughter, Ann Wooten Langston and her husband, Dudley Irvin Langston; and his grandchildren, Francis "Frank" Byron Langston and Lois Kathryn Langston of Memphis, Tenn. As Mr. Wooten's home church, Wesley Monumental UMC, is under repair, funeral services will be held at Independent Presbyterian Church, 207 Bull Street, at 11 a.m. today, Feb. 10. A graveside service will be held Monday, Feb. 12, at the Friendship Church Cemetery in Wilcox County, Ga. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that remembrances be made to Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church Music Endowment; 429 Abercorn, Savannah, GA 31401; and Hospice Savannah Foundation, Inc.; PO Box 13190, Savannah, GA 31416.
Published in the Winston-Salem Journal on 2/10/2007.