• Glascock first
to save one of their
own, now they will
be honoring Jim
By Faye Ellison
The call that came in at 4 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 22, it was one that
most fire fighters, first responders
and EMTs fear, the
call of a person they
know, they have been
personally attached to
or worked with, was
in need of their help;
their lifesaving help.
The feeling grew
even worse when
they arrive on the
scene to find that no
matter how many
times their clamped
hands push on that
chest, it was not
enough. This one, is
lost; gone from their
Fire Chief Frank
about those feelings of love lost. In
remembering that moment and the
man, Jim Pate, McGahee and other
friends and family will hold a special
ceremony for Pate’s legacy and
“He was wonderful,” McGahee
said. “There was no better man no
where. He was really great.”
The ceremony will be held Saturday,
Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. at the Glascock
County Courthouse in Gibson. McGahee said during the ceremony,
firefighters will present Pate’s wife,
Debora, with a plaque. They have
also purchased a brick to be placed
in front of the courthouse and retire
his number 119.
“He enjoyed helping others,”
Pate’s wife said. “He was a kind and
decent man. He was always there
for everybody that needed any help.
That was his personality. He was a
very outgoing person. Everyone just
McGahee said a call went out over
the radio early Wednesday morning
telling of Pate, a person who was a
friend to anyone in need, needing his
friends and comrades to come to his
When first responders,
EMTs and his
doctor, Chris Sheppard,
arrived, it was
too late for Pate. He
had left long before
the rescuers could
arrive at the hands
of a massive heart
“It was rough on
all of us,” McGahee
said of himself and
Pate’s friends and
worked on him for
about an hour. We
did everything humanly
The shock of who laid before them
had just begun to set in after fighting
for so long to revive Pate. McGahee
said it was a dear friend on whom
they were working.
“It was awful to see one of your
own laying on the floor and nothing
you did, did any good,” McGahee
lamented. “It was rough and awful
on all of us.”
Pate moved to Glascock County 16 years ago. He worked in the maintenance department at Thiele Kaolin Company Reedy Creek division. He was also a firefighter in Stapleton. Pate was a former member of the Glascock County Board of Education and was a member of the Gibson Masonic Lodge.
The funeral was Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. at Sandersville United Methodist Church with the Revs. Randall Whitaker and Mike Brown officiating. Burial was in the Davisboro City Cemetery.
Survivors include his wife, Debora G. Pate; children, Cassie P. (Clay) Prescott, Avera, and April P. (Stacy) Faglier, Stapleton; two grandchildren, Jayna Prescott and Taylor Prescott; his mother, Jane S. Pate, Sandersville; sister, Lynn P. (Brannon) Bonifay, Stuart, Fla.; and step-sons Tony Hattaway and Chris Hattaway, Gibson.
Pallbearers were Tony Kelley, Timmy Usry, David Logan, Gary Usry, John Callaway, Johnnie Crutchfield, Larry Braswell and Lee Horton. Honorary pallbearers were Thiele Reedy Creek employees and the Gibson/Glascock Fire Department.
Memorials may be made to the Gibson/Glascock Fire Department, c/o Kathy Lyons, P.O. Box 68, Gibson, GA 30810.
• The Instasis
they want to
with the public
By Faye Ellison
It’s beginning to look a lot
like Christmas, every day of
the year for the Instasis of
Starting with a hobby of
collecting Santa Clauses
and moving into a fullblown
wonderland, Roy and Barbara
Instasi Sr. and Roy
Instasi Jr. have found a way
to keep Christmas alive all
From Santa, to elves,
to angels, Barbara and her
husband and son have filled
a cabin behind their house on
Hobbs Road with everything
Christmas of which they
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From snow that falls every
night to trains that never
tire of saying choo-choo as
they run over their carefully
built tracks, the Instasis
thought of everything for the
holiday season. The Instasis
are in the third year of presenting
a Christmas village
beyond their wildest dreams
for the citizens of Glascock
Though it took years to collect all the items from all over the world to create a second North Pole, the Instasis took three months to build the cabin and four weeks to fill the insides to the brim with anything related to Christmas.
“We have them from anywhere we’ve been,” Barbara said.
“We’ve been around the world,” her son added, “actually overseas for most of my life.”
From the beginning of his life, Roy Jr. knew that the holiday season and being forever young were going to be apart of it. He said his father bought him a train set for Christmas when he was five-months-old.
“I think it might have been for him,” Roy Jr. said.
Barbara has always had a special connection to Christmas. She was born on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.
“I always felt like I got gypped at Christmas,” she said.
Though the Instasis are not originally from Glascock County, Barbara hails from Virginia and her husband, Roy Sr., is originally from Massachusetts, they found their way to Glascock County with the help of Barbara’s mother.
The family moved here to help with her sick mother, who lived in Thomson, only to lose her to a massive heart attack a few days after they closed on their house.
That was 16 years ago. In those 16 years, the Instasi house has been the keeper of all things Christmas up until a few years ago, when Barbara felt it was time to let her obsessions go, but not far, just to the back yard.
“My house outgrew my Santa Clauses,” Barbara said. “My kids would say mom you have too much noise.”
In Virginia, where the Instasis lived before relocating, Barbara said she used to display a simple Christmas village for the holidays. Now the village has turned into a metropolis with every kind of Santa and Christmas spirited figurine, toy or stuffed animal you can imagine.
Roy Jr. said that the last time he tried to tally the collection, he lost count at 1,119.
“I enjoy being in the Christmas spirit all year long,” Barbara said, adding, “Because it’s different.”
Barbara’s favorite piece sits just to the left of the entrance, a talking, rocking Santa whose white beard greets you as you enter the door.
“He is my favorite piece,” Barbara said. “My best friend in Kentucky gave it to me.”
To be the perfect piece for Barbara’s still growing collection, there is only one requirement.
“It has to be different,” Barbara said. “Something you’ve never seen before.”
But right now, Barbara said that she is running out of room for her Christmas family, unless she decides to fill her house again.
“Gosh! I’ve never seen so many Santa Clauses.”
This is a normal reaction, if there is one, which Barbara said she receives from visitors to the astonishing collections of Christmas cheer that the Instasis have been able to fit in their cabin.
Barbara and her son said that they are looking forward to visitors looking to also get in the holiday spirit. The cabin is open each night from 6 to 9 p.m. Barbara said they are also open for schools to bring little ones, who are on a first name basis with jolly, old St. Nick, to the cabin to let their imaginations run wild in the house that Christmas built.
To make arrangements, call (706) 598-2349.