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Downtown pioneer 'Dub' Lovett passes
Community remembers him as 'generous,' 'always positive'
William Robert "Dub" Lovett III

The Statesboro community is mourning the loss of a man who helped build the city's downtown area into a thriving business district.

William Robert "Dub" Lovett III, age 94, died Sunday afternoon at his residence under hospice care. Friends and family remember him as always positive, always smiling and full of good advice on being a successful business person.

The Screven County native lived in Bulloch County most of his life, where he made an impact as a longtime member of Statesboro's First United Methodist Church. He served as lay liturgist, a Sunday school teacher, chairman of the board of trustees and numerous other committees, including being a member of the Dan Williams Sunday School Class.

His son Bob Lovett spoke fondly of his father Monday, calling him "quite a character" as he recalled growing up under his father's loving tutelage.

"Dad was a very positive person," he said. "He was always optimistic and encouraged others to invest themselves in the community."

Dub Lovett took his own advice and was one of downtown Statesboro's most beloved and well-known business owners. He was partners in owning and operating H.W. Smith Jewelers, where he worked with partner and father-in-law Harry Warthen Smith starting in the late 1940s.

Lovett was the founding president of the Statesboro Downtown Development Authority and the Georgia Southern University Symphony, a charter member and past president of Forest Heights Country Club, a member and past president of the Statesboro Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow, and past president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

"He was a great neighbor in downtown Statesboro," said business owner Si Waters. "He was a good Christian man and was a friend to everybody."

Another downtown business owner, Ronnie Pope, said he enjoyed Lovett being his business neighbor for 30 years.

"He was a class guy, a real gentleman from the get-go," he said. "He was encouraging to me and always had a positive outlook on life."

Lovett was a member of the Ogeechee Lodge 213 F & AM and a veteran of the U.S. Army-Air Corps, serving a year in Europe in the 8th Air Force Division during World War II.

He was a Deen Day Service to Mankind Award recipient and was named a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient during the 2008 Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards banquet.

"Dub Lovett was one of the biggest boosters of our community," said Statesboro Herald President Joe McGlamery. "He cared deeply about the community and its people, and he was a generous man. He was one of the greatest practitioners of the 'give it forward' concept. Whenever you tried to thank him for some favor or act of generosity, he would brush it aside by saying, 'Just do something nice for somebody else.' "

Lovett "was one of the best friends I ever had," said Tal Callaway. "He taught me more about retailing than when I was in college."

Lovett had a great sense of humor, Callaway added, relating a story about a time they were playing golf and Lovett stood up in the roofless golf cart to greet passing friends. He fell but came running to climb back on the cart.

"He told me it hurt him but not to tell the fellows," Callaway recalled.

Another humorous anecdote was when Lovett, trying to get Callaway to stop smoking, grabbed his pocket and crushed a pack of cigarettes; he also crushed Callaway's new prescription glasses.

However, upon learning his mistake, Lovett said, "I'm a jeweler. I'll fix them."

And he did, Callaway said.

"He was one of the most kind, considerate, giving people I've ever met," said Jay Cook, a local banker. "He was very interested in the young people who worked for him and was very generous of his time and talents to the community. He treated everybody the same."

Lovett leaves behind a wife of 71 years, Joyce Smith Lovett, of Statesboro, and three sons and daughters-in-law -William Harry "Bill" Lovett and wife Susan, of Savannah; Linwood Robert "Bob" Lovett and wife Carole, of Macon; and David Olin Lovett and wife Cynthia, of Statesboro.

He also has six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Statesboro First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Jimmy Cason officiating.

Burial will be in the Eastside Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Statesboro First United Methodist Church.

"This is a big loss to Statesboro," Waters said. "He will be greatly missed."

Lovett "always taught me to look a customer in the face and put a name to the face," Callaway said. "He had a wonderful life, and I'm going to miss him a lot."

Pope called Lovett "one of the pioneers of Bulloch County, Statesboro and Georgia Southern. He supported the whole community, and I'm going to miss him."

His father "thought a lot of Statesboro and Bulloch County," Bob Lovett said. "He lived life to the fullest and had a wonderful spirit about him because he loved life so much."

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.



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