Mary George Barber Poss, 92, of Clayton, Ga. and formerly of Athens, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 9, 2021. She will always be loved and remembered as a true Southern lady, gracious always.
She was born on March 10, 1928 in Athens Ga. to Frances Massey Barber and George Lamar Barber. She grew up in Athens where she was influenced by the University of Georgia’s traveling art program; she has been drawing since childhood and began sketching florals and snow scenes while a student at Athens High School. After graduation from Athens High, she studied under Lamar Dodd and Howard Thomas at the University of Georgia, as well as with other private teachers. She also completed a three-year program in commercial art under the direction of Norman Rockwell. In later years she returned to the University of Georgia for courses in sculpture, jewelry-making, and pottery, but watercolors and painting were her first love.
Among her other endeavors was residential design. In the 1960’s Mary George entered a contest held by McCall’s Magazine designing a kitchen and laundry area. The competition was to design the floor plans, cabinetry, flooring, wallpaper, and draperies. She was awarded 3rd place out of more than 16,000 entries. With this she was asked to join the McCall’s Congress on Better Living Panel. She traveled to major cities across the country on this panel, which was hosted and moderated by Art Linkletter. Over the years she has designed and completed architectural drawings for many clients as well as for her husband including residential homes, Stornoway Condominiums, Ginger Creek Condominiums, the Savannah Place Shops and other downtown buildings.
Mary George opened Athens’ first art gallery in 1962 and after she and Ed moved from Athens to their home on Lake Rabun in 1969, and after many years of painting scenes in Rabun County, she opened Clayton’s first gallery in 1983. She loved Rabun County and its history and spent many years researching and creating historical paintings and producing Limited Edition Prints of this area. One of the most well-known is “Town of Burton”, a folk style documentation of the town now covered by Lake Burton, which she spent two years researching.
Her work has been exhibited in galleries, traveling exhibitions and one-man shows, as well as in private collections throughout the country.
Exhibitions include Georgia Museum of Art, The Contemporary Artist Exhibition, The Augusta Museum of Art, Vincent Price Art Exhibit, The Atlanta Arts Festival, The Piedmont Art Show (Judged Division), Atlanta Buckhead Club. Her paintings were also chosen to tour with the Southeastern Traveling Exhibition. Her work was accepted for the European Exposition at the Gallerie De La Coure in Geneva, Switzerland and invited to have her work remain on permanent exhibition. Her work was also selected for a gallery showing in Paris the following spring.
One-man shows include the Fine Arts Gallery in Atlanta, Oglethorpe House, the University of Georgia, South Georgia College Museum, the Learning Foundation, the Recording for the Blind Foundation and Galleries II in Martinsville, Va. and Roanoke, Va.
Mary George was an active member of the Atlanta Museum, The Atlanta Artist Club, The Athens Art Association, among others.
In 1946 she married the love of her life, Ed Poss. They were high school sweethearts and voted “Most in Love” by fellow classmates. They enjoyed a wonderful adventurous life together for 71 years before his death in 2017. She loved and treasured her family.
In addition to her parents, Mary George was preceded in death by her husband, Edwin Carroll Poss and a son, John Greg Poss.
Survivors include two children, Jamie Poss Darrah and husband Tim of Sky Valley and Scott Poss and wife Pat McKay Poss of Tiger; five grandchildren, Ashley Martin and wife Rabun, Rabun Gap, Ryan Martin and wife Shelley, Augusta, Ga., Jordan Poss and wife Sarah of Greenville, S.C., Meredith Poss Thompson and husband Yance, Clayton and Nicolaus Poss and wife Carrie of Lakemont and f15 great-grandchildren.
There will be a private family service Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 11 a.m. in Clayton, followed by a family graveside service in Athens, Ga. The service will be recorded and available on Beck Funeral Home website afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to A Place of Hope North Georgia, a resource to help children living in tenuous situations, www.placeofhopenga.com , P O Box 933, Clayton, Ga. 30525. Or, the Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia, https://alz.org/georgia , 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.