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Rufus Earl Dabbs, Sr.: A legacy of service

A seasoned businessman and supporter of progress in our community, Earl Dabbs, Sr., left a legacy of "service above self" that we should all appreciate as Statesboro continues to grow.

You would never know Rufus Earl Dabbs, Sr. was a transplant, albeit a long-time one, to Bulloch County. When the Screven County native passed away in December, he left a legacy of service to the Bulloch County community that few can match.

Dabbs grew up in Screven County, where he attended high school before going on to earn a BBA in Accounting at The University of Georgia in 1959. After graduating with honors, he attended advanced taxation study under direction of the Internal Revenue Service at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

As a local business person, being a founding partner of the local accounting firm Dabbs, Hickman, Hill, and Cannon, he served area individuals and businesses for over 33 years, helping build and sustain numerous companies and entities with his accounting and business guidance, but he also worked in other ways to help his community see progress.

Whether through work in his church, Statesboro First United Methodist, his participation with the local Chamber of Commerce, assisting Ogeechee Technical College, Georgia Southern University, or the local Development Authority, Earl had a focus on doing things that would benefit all the citizens of Statesboro and Bulloch County.

Well into an age when many would have turned the reigns over to another generation, Earl was still helping guide the actions of community planners, to set goals for a better tomorrow—with many of those planning goals seeing fruition now.

At a community retreat sponsored by the Chamber and other organizations some years ago, Earl was one of the more senior members present, but one who was just as invested, and just as eager to participate, as many of the younger generation there. His enthusiasm was evident, and set an example for others of how a true community leader should act.

With community accolades such as a Deen Day Smtih Service to Mankind Award, Rotary Citizen of the Year, and numerous other honors through his career, he lived up to the statement made by local attorney, Charles Brown, when the Rotary Citizen of the Year was announced, “Our Rotary Citizen of the Year has lived out an example of community leadership and placing service above self,” said Brown. And Earl Dabbs, indeed, did just that.

Dabbs left his wife, Jewel, and his children, grandchildren, and other family members, as well as the wider Statesboro and Bulloch County community, a true legacy of service that we all should appreciate.