Longtime Brenau University supporter and Trustee Emeritus Thomas Hanie Paris Jr. died following a brief illness on Monday, Nov. 19. He was 79.
A native of Gainesville, Georgia, Tom Paris was a devoted son, brother, husband, father and grandfather, as well as a successful businessman and community servant. He was a graduate of Gainesville High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, where he was a three-year letterman for the SEC Champion Georgia Bulldogs football team under Coach Wally Butts.
Upon graduation from UGA, Paris joined the family business, serving as president of Paris-Dunlap Wholesale Hardware Company. He also served as president of the Southern Hardware Association and was on the board of the National Wholesale Hardware Association. In addition to Paris-Dunlap Hardware, he founded Paris Management and Investment Company and Paris Storage Company. He also served as a director of Gainesville National Bank, Piedmont Southern Life Insurance Company and the local advisory board of Wachovia Bank.
For 25 years, Paris served as a Brenau trustee and chaired its finance committee. A lifetime member of Gainesville First United Methodist Church, he served on its administrative board and also chaired its finance committee. He was president of the Gainesville Rotary Club, the Chattahoochee Country Club, and he was a founding trustee of Lakeview Academy. He was a director of the Gainesville-Hall Chamber of Commerce, Campfire Girls board and a member of Leadership Georgia. He remained involved with the University of Georgia, serving on the Terry College of Business Alumni Board, the President’s Club and the Letterman’s Club. For more than two decades, he was a trustee of the Northeast Georgia Health System board and chaired its strategic planning committee. He was a very dedicated and visionary board member of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, and his impact on the organization will last for generations. He also served on the board of The Highlands Falls Country Club in Highlands, North Carolina.
The Paris family will host an informal visitation at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. A memorial service will be held at Gainesville First United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.
He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Alice Whitehead Paris of Gainesville, his son, daughter and five grandchildren, as well as his sister, two nieces and several nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations honoring his life may be made to the Gainesville First United Methodist Church, the University of Georgia Foundation or the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.