As a senior at Mercer University, Lamar Geddis knew where he was headed after graduation—right back into the doors of the Macon Second Street Boys Club, where he had interned as part of his “Year in Action”. This program, which allowed Mercer seniors the opportunity to volunteer at a community service organization, further ignited Mr. Geddis’s search for a career that incorporated his passion for serving others. At 21 years old, Lamar became director of the Boys Club while he was still a senior in college and immediately started to impact the lives of the children and youth there—lives like Marco Watts, Bernard King, Steve Balkcom and countless others who still point to Mr. Geddis as a driving force in shaping their lives.
“Mr. Geddis was like a father figure to us,” remembers Marco Watts, one of Geddis’s Boys Club members at the time. “I was really young, maybe only 7 years old, when I started at the Second Street Boys Club, and it became a safe haven because of him. I always knew I would be cared for and fed there. His impact was tremendous.”
Fellow former Club member Bernard King agrees.
“Mr. Geddis was just like Joe Clark in Lean on Me,” stated King. “He transformed that Club into a family. I was raised there.”
Geddis, alongside his wife Lynda, also a graduate of Mercer and at the time a case worker for Bibb County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), guided many of the youngest members of his Club through difficult times in their lives into young adulthood.
Steve Balkcom, one of Mr. Geddis’s Club members recalls the impact both Lamar and Lynda had on his life.
“I grew up in a foster home,” Balkcom said. “And Mrs. Geddis was my case worker. She and Mr. Geddis were just dating at the time, and she had come to visit him at the Club and didn’t know our paths would cross. I have a great relationship with their whole family. Mr. Geddis told me once that he always knew that I would be okay. As a young kid getting out of high school, I couldn’t see that. But Mr. Geddis could.”
Watts echoed that statement.
“He taught us how to handle things and do things the right way,” Watts explained. “In our community, so many of us grew up without a father, and he went the extra mile for us. He was able to see me grow. Once I became a grown man, he told me he was proud of me. My own father hadn’t ever told me that.”
Geddis would spend 15 years as director of the Second Street Boys and Girls Club, which was renamed during his tenure, watching so many young people take on leadership roles before they headed off to college, the armed services or other professional opportunities. He eventually moved on to a job at Crisis Line, a position he held for another 15 years, and he continued to work with numerous organizations that helped create lasting opportunities for his community.
“He was so involved in the Macon community. He took it as his own,” stated Balkcom. “He was always thinking positively about how we can change things for the better.”
Lynda Geddis remembers her husband as someone who worked tirelessly to create positive change in the lives of everyone he met. She describes him as being passionate for growth and development of their community, particularly about creating opportunities for kids.
It was upon Mr. Lamar Geddis’s passing in 2018 that his family knew they wanted to find a way to honor him while allowing his legacy to continue to impact Macon.
“At first, we discussed setting up a scholarship,” explained Mrs. Geddis. “But we wanted to make it broader to enable a variety of worthy organizations to receive grants in Lamar’s name, and we were so pleased to learn the Community Foundation of Central could help us do just that.”
From his roles as a steward and member of the financial policy committee at his church, St. Paul AME, to serving on the Board of the Macon-Bibb Economic Opportunity Council, where he ran classes on how to gain employment, Lamar Geddis had a role in so many pivotal, community-driven organizations. But it’s in the loving, admiring words of the now grown men whom he first encountered as youngsters at the Second Street Boys Club where we can see Geddis’s lasting impact on those whose lives he touched.
“Everywhere Mr. Geddis went, no matter how old I got, I was able to go to him and still get advice from him,” explained Watts. “He knew me, and he knew my struggles. He guided me through so many situations in my life.”
King expanded that even further. “Truly, he was a gentle giant in the Middle Georgia community,” he stated. “Though his name may not be nationally known, his footprint spans the entire world because of his impact in the lives of so many Boys Club alums.”
Now anyone wishing to honor Mr. Lamar Geddis can have a part in keeping his spirit alive through a donation to his fund at CFCG, which will make grants to positively impact future generations of area young people. To make a donation in his honor, click here.