Robert Melvin “Mickey” Channell, Jr., 76, died peacefully at his home on February 26, 2019, surrounded by his family. A longtime public servant, Mr. Channell served in the Georgia General Assembly representing State House District 120 from 1993-2015. Mr. Channell truly believed that public service was a high calling and was honored to serve the people of his district both locally and at the state level for 42 years.
Mickey was born in Washington, Georgia, on September 9, 1942, to the late Robert Melvin Channell, Sr. and Pauline Jackson Channell Richardson. He grew up in Greene County and graduated from Greensboro High School before attending Young Harris College, where former Georgia Governor and Senator Zell Miller was his baseball coach and taught him the value of public service. Mickey transferred to the University of Georgia where he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. The avid Bulldog fan left UGA his senior year to take care of the family business after the passing of his father. He returned to the University 28 years later to obtain his BBA in Business Administration from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business.
While at the University of Georgia, Mickey met and married the former Carolyn DeVane of Adel, Georgia, his loving wife of 55 years. They made their home in Greene County where they raised four children. An accomplished businessman, Mickey built his businesses, Corner Pantry Food Marts and Channell Enterprises, in addition to working as co-owner of Channell Super Valu with his mother. Mickey began his political career serving on the Greene County Board of Commissioners from 1972 to 1980 and the Greene County Board of Education from 1980 to 1992. He was a charter member of the Georgia Convenience Store Association and served as board president. He was also a member of the National Association of Convenience Stores and served as a board member. Mickey was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church of Greensboro. Involved in many civic organizations, Mickey was a honorary member of the Greene County Rotary Club and a past President of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce. Mickey was also a co-organizer of the Greene County Dixie Youth Baseball Program. In addition to his many business, political and civic duties, Mickey enjoyed Saturdays in Athens, cheering on his beloved Georgia Bulldogs.
During his 22 years in the Georgia General Assembly, Mr. Channell served as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Vice-Chairman of Appropriations, Chairman of the Health Subcommittee of Appropriations, Chairman of Industrial Relations and Secretary of Transportation. He also served on Health and Human Services, Human Relations and Aging, and Rules. Considered an expert on healthcare in Georgia, Channell’s proudest achievement in the Georgia General Assembly was authoring the PeachCare for Kids legislation, securing affordable healthcare services for over 200,000 children of Georgia’s working families. A supporter of rural hospitals, Mr. Channell played a significant role in making it possible for St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital to locate in Greene County. He was named Legislator of the Year by James Magazine in 2014 and one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2014, in addition to numerous other honors and awards during his political career.
In addition to his wife, Carolyn, he is survived by his mother, Pauline Jackson Channell Richardson and his children: Sara Lynn Bryant (Benjie) of Greensboro, GA, Laura Mason (Steve), Mel Channell, and Carrie Shepherd (Scott), all of Athens, GA; nine grandchildren: Caroline Bryant, Alyson Richards (Conrad), Will Sellers, Isabelle Channell, Robert Channell IV, John Shepherd, Grace Mason, Henry Shepherd, and Liza Shepherd; his brother Paul Jackson Channell (Diane), and a number of other relatives and many friends.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church South Campus, 4741 Carey Station Road, Greensboro, GA with the Rev. Richard Chewning, Rev. Mike Morgan, and Rev. Hugh Hendrickson officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until time for the service at the First United Methodist Church South Campus. Interment will take place prior to the service at 11:00 a.m. in the Wesley Chapel Wesleyan Church Cemetery, 2830 Highway 15 South, Greensboro. Serving as honorary pallbearers are: Sibley Bryan, Jamie Boswell, Phil Boswell, Dene Channell, Rick Heebner, Butch Jackson, Butch Parrish, Jere Power, Jamie Reynolds, Earl Rogers, Sam Roper, Ron Starling, Sam Villegas and Gene Westbrook. The family would like to especially thank Jessica Robbins, Shantrella Turner, Shanee Turner, Marshiya Oliver and Harmony Hospice for their dedication and loving care given to Mickey.
In lieu of flowers the family request that any memorials be made to Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, 1762 Clifton Road, NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30322 or CURE Childhood Cancer, 200 Ashford Center North, Suite 250, Atlanta, GA 30338. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online guest register.