Public service — whether on the state or local stage — is a common theme among the three new inductees into the Junior Achievement Northwest Georgia Business Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have made a lasting impact on the community, expands to 28 members with the induction in April of the late W.W. Fincher, a state senator and businessman; David Pennington, current mayor of Dalton and managing director of Advanced Insurance Strategies; and Joe W. Yarbrough, senior vice president of advanced manufacturing engineering for Mohawk Industries.
Also being honored is Charlie Bethel, a state senator and a human resources executive with J&J Industries, who will receive the Junior Achievement Rising Star award. The accolade highlights a younger person who is making strides in the business world.
The eighth annual Hall of Fame event is Tuesday, April 16, at the trade center. A reception and silent auction begin at 6:15 p.m. with dinner and the induction ceremony following at 7 p.m. The event is black tie optional. Tickets are $125; tables of 10 are $1,000. For more information, contact JA at (706) 278-9180. The event’s title sponsors are the Kenneth E. Boring Charitable Foundation and Mohawk Industries.
Founded in 1964, the Junior Achievement Northwest Georgia District is based in Dalton. The district serves Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties. More than 9,400 students in 38 schools and 400 classrooms learn real-life business skills from volunteers and board and staff members from Junior Achievement. Volunteers from area businesses as well as parents and retirees teach business and personal finance skills to children through the JA program.
Here are profiles of the new inductees:
Diverse is a word that could describe the business, social and political pursuits throughout the life of the late William Wesley “Bill” Fincher Jr.
Fincher was born May 16, 1914, in Canton. After completing pharmacy school at the University of South Carolina in 1933, he followed in his father’s footsteps by opening Fincher Drug Co. in 1935 with the help of his brother, Jack. Shortly after starting the business, Fincher met Eunice (Peg) Loughridge, who was a native of Murray County and taught school there. They married in 1936. After 16 years as a pharmacist, Fincher sold the business and operated a chain of theaters in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
He was active for more than 60 years in the Lions Club, holding various offices; was a long-time member of the Masonic Order, serving as president of the Echota-Vann Shrine Club; and was a member of both Murray County and Whitfield County chambers of commerce. He was active in the Murray County Historical Society and served on the board of the Chatsworth Murray County Library. He was a loyal supporter of Dalton State College and served as a trustee of the Dalton State College Foundation from 1976-1982 and 1991-1996.
In 1964, Fincher was elected to the Georgia State Senate from the 54th Senatorial District, comprised of Catoosa, Murray and Whitfield counties. He served in the Senate for 26 years. While in the Senate, Fincher served as chairman of the Higher Education Committee, chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee, and on the Banking and Finance Committee, Appropriations Committee, Human Resources Committee and Interstate Cooperation Committee.
He and his wife founded the Fincher-Loughridge Foundation in 1985 to support colleges, youth homes and churches in the North Georgia area. To date the foundation has contributed more than $1 million to its beneficiaries.
He passed away at age 91 on April 15, 2006. Fincher and his wife have three daughters and 10 grandchildren.