Ellie “Buddy” Royal, 89, of Waycross died Thursday afternoon (Jan. 5, 2012) at his daughter’s residence in Brunswick after an extended illness. He was born in Axson, GA and lived all of his life in Waycross. His parents were the late Dave Morrison Royal and Martha Starling Royal. He was the youngest of seven of whom all preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his wife Margaret Ann Gooden Royal. Mr. Royal served his country in the U.S. Navy in World War II and after the War he was in the Active Reserves for nineteen years, eight months and twenty-four days.
Mr. Royal was retired from SunTrust Bank where he served as Senior Vice President and excelled and always went beyond what was expected in his professional career as he did with his commitment to his family, church, and community. He was past President of the Okefenokee Conference of National Association of Bank Controllers and Auditors, and Group 8 Chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association and until his death he served on the Board of Directors for SunTrust Bank.
He is a member of First Presbyterian Church where he has served as Deacon, treasurer, Elder of the church, elder emeritus, Trustee, Men’s Bible Class, has been active with the Savannah Presbytery offices and was a standing member of the Thursday morning breakfast group at the church. Mr. Royal is also a member of the Okefenokee Golf Club and has served as board member and secretary.
A Servant Leader Dedicated to the YMCA Movement. Mr. Royal, a believer in the YMCA movement, was a strong member of the YMCA Board of Directors. Mr. Royal served on the Y Board from the late 1960's until his passing. Mr. Royal's service to the Y was recognized by his peers, as he was unanimously elected to the YMCA Life Board.
As a member of the YMCA leadership, Ellie Royal held most every committee chair position, including YMCA Board President. Under Mr. Royal service to the Waycross YMCA he is credited with being part of the leadership that whole heartily dedicated themselves to raise the needed funds and membership required to build the 50,000 square foot state of the art Plant Ave Family YMCA building. This building, now referred to as the Childers Family YMCA, still strongly serves our community today.
Mr. Royal lived his life under the Y motto of Spirit, Mind and Body. He was a strong Christian man, with a big heart, who kept a regular wellness routine and enjoyed the commrodorie and fellowship of others. In 2009, the YMCA Board of Directors dedicated "The Royal Room", in honor of Mr. Royal. The Royal Room is located in the Men's Fitness Center and centers around fellowship of the members.
Mr. Royal joined the Waycross Exchange Club, June 1, 1959 and went to work as an active member. His service and leadership was recognized as he was named club president in 1964. His club awarded him the Erin W. Johnson Trophy that same year for outstanding service to his community. In addition to serving as President Mr. Royal served the club for many years as treasurer. In 1970, Mr. Royal was awarded the M.C. Thomas Award for being the most outstanding fair worker. He served on most committees and chaired many for both the Waycross Exchange Club and the Okefenokee Fair Association. Mr. Royal was very involved in membership recruitment and new club building. He is credited with building at least thirteen Exchange Clubs in Georgia. Mr. Royal serviced the Georgia District as a board member, District Treasurer, District President-Elect, and Georgia District President from 1968-1969. After much success as District President the National President presented Mr. Royal with the President’s Banner for outstanding service to the Exchange organization. He was instrumental in having a Freedom Shrine placed in the Georgia Capital during his presidency.
He attended every National Convention he could and chaired the Georgia District Exchange Club Hospitality Room and District Convention for many years. Mr. Royal served on national committees including the National Exchange Committee on Education, National Expansion Committee (chair), National Convention Site Committee and the National Convention Committee.
In 1979, he was awarded the Book of Golden Deeds; this award recognizes not only service to Exchange but also his service in this community, his profession, his family, and church. The county and city commissions declared “Ellie Royal Day”, August 24, 1979 to recognize the great and unselfish service Mr. Royal had given to his community. He earned the club’s Exchangite of the Year award in 1990-91 and in 1998-99. In September 2010, Mr. Royal was elected into the highest honor of Exchange, the Court of Honor. Mr. Royal is “Mr. Exchange” in his club and in the Georgia District.
In the community Mr. Royal served as President of the Waycross/Ware County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Waycross/Ware County United Fund Campaign, President of the Contact Club of Waycross, President of the Waycross Jaycees, Chairman of the Waycross/Ware County Heart Association, recipient of the Liberty Bell Award from the Waycross/Ware County Bar Association, recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Jack Williams Trophy for Community Service. In addition he was a member of the Waycross Elks Club, the Salvation Army Volunteer Board and the Valdosta State College Board.
Mr. Royal has been a tireless worker and promoter for Ware County and Waycross.
Survivors include his daughter, Marsha Royal House and her husband Chief Raymond House of Brunswick; three grandchildren, Daniel R. Wilson and his wife Ruth of Brunswick, Marisa R. Franklin and her husband Burton of Brunswick and Ray House and his wife DeLisa of Jesup; four great-grandchildren, Timmy Simpson, Madi Franklin, Brayden Franklin and Taylor Grace Wilson; several nieces, nephews and other relatives.
A funeral service will be held Monday morning at 11 am at the First Presbyterian Church. Entombment will follow in Greenlawn Mausoleum.
The family will receive friends Monday morning from 10 until 11 am at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 601 Hill Street, Waycross, GA 31501 or the Waycross Exchange Club, Child Abuse Program, PO Box 926, Waycross, GA 31502.
The family requests the Waycross Exchange Club, the YMCA Board and Staff, Wednesday Night Social Club, Dr. Salim Osta and Staff, Priscilla Ramsey and Sharon Sloan to serve as Honorary Pallbearers and should meet at the church by 10:30 am Monday for the service.
Sympathy may be expressed online at www.milesodumfuneralhome.com.
Miles-Odum Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.