Petty Franklin Ezell Sr.
February 2, 1939 – August 29, 2020
Petty Franklin Ezell, Sr. (1939-2020) Grapevine, Texas.
Our beloved “Trollie” passed away on August 29, 2020, at the age of 81. Coach Ezell, as he was affectionately known by many, was defined by a life of service to others. He was first and foremost a man of God, who served His Lord diligently from a young age and shared that love with everyone around him. As a young boy growing up in Alabama, he enjoyed sports and competition. Petty was a tremendous athlete at Lauderdale County High School in Rogersville, Alabama, where he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. As a champion basketball player, he averaged 32 points per game. He scored over 1,500 points as a senior alone. He was a member of the All-State team as a senior and played in the All-Star basketball game. During his high school years, he met and dated the love of his life, Miss Patricia “Patti” Bedingfield. While they both attended University of North Alabama for a time, Petty completed his studies at Austin Peay where he was a scholarship athlete, playing three sports. He completed his Master of Science degree in Cell Biology at Austin Peay, studying marine life around the shorelines of the Tennessee River he loved so dearly. He returned to Rogersville, Alabama, after graduation and married Miss Patti on July 19, 1961.
In 1964, Petty began a teaching and coaching position at Georgia Military Academy, known today as Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. He began a decades long career at Woodward where he taught biology and coached football, baseball, and basketball. He acted as Athletic Director for 26 years until his retirement in 2000. During his 36 years at Woodward Academy, his teams won state championships or were runners-up 31 times. Coach was awarded the National Federation of State High School Associations’ highest award, the NFHS citation for Outstanding Contributions in Interscholastic Athletics in San Diego at the 31st National Conference of High School Directors of Athletics in December of 2000. He was a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Director’s Association (GADA) and was the state liaison to the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Nationally, Coach served on the NIAAA credentials committee where he received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1991 and was selected as the GADA Athletic Director of the Year in 1990. He was the first editor of the GADA magazine and worked in the planning of the GADA conference for over 20 years. Coach was a member of the executive committee of Georgia High School Association for six years where he was instrumental in public and private school relations.
Additionally, he co-founded the Atlanta Superstar Basketball camps with friends, Jackie Bradford and Bob Reinhardt, which ran summer basketball camps for 10 years in the Atlanta area for kids. He was the leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Woodward Academy for 10 years, one of the largest chapters in the country. He worked tirelessly to have all of his students reach their goals. A number of his former biology students are now some of the country’s finest physicians and surgeons. Many former athletes enjoyed successful professional sports careers. Coach believed that “attitude is everything”.
He was as a faithful servant and member of the Peachtree City Church of Christ (PCCCOC) in Georgia for 43 years with his wife by his side. He served as an elder for PCCOC for 25 years. In his role at PCCCOC, he was committed to his congregation, mission work, and eldership. During his retirement years, he and Patti, moved to Guntersville, Alabama, where he enjoyed fishing and hunting with his friend Roy Sanderson. They attended Guntersville Church of Christ. Ultimately, he moved back to Rogersville, Alabama, after his dear wife, Patti passed in 2007 where he enjoyed serving his original church home, the Rogersville Church of Christ.
His greatest joys involved fellowship with his church family, his grandchildren (Betsy and Hook), coaching students, fishing and hunting with his lifelong buddies (Roland Ezell, George Mason, Fred Young, Mike Ezell, Ed R. Ingram, Donnie Hendrickson and many others), and traveling with his family.
He was inducted into the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
He had many favorite scriptures including 2 Timothy 4:7; Philippians 4:12; and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
One of his favorite quotes suited his professional career aptly…It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat…Theodore Roosevelt
Survived by: his son, Chip Ezell and his wife, Angie; brother, Kerry Ezell and his wife, Linda; sister-in-law, Joan Ezell; and his grandchildren, Betsy and Hook.
Predeceased by: his wife of 45 years, Patricia Bedingfield Ezell; brother, Bobby Ezell; and sister, Shirley Ann.
Private Graveside Service: Westminster Memorial Gardens, Peachtree City, Georgia
Future Services will be held at Woodward Academy and Peachtree City Church of Christ. Details will be provided to these locations in advance. Please reach out in the coming months for details.
Please visit : https://youtu.be/Xv8zIN77JQI for a photo video memorial or you can search by putting Petty Ezell, Sr. in search box on YouTube.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Woodward Academy: Petty Ezell, Sr., Woodward Academy Advancement Office, 1662 Rugby Avenue, College Park, GA 30337, 404-765-4030.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Petty Franklin Ezell Sr.
SUSAN BREWSTER PATTERSON
September 8, 2020
Your Dad was a model teacher and coach at Woodward. I have great memories of talking to both of your parents and know that my Dad, Capt. Brewster had a great deal of respect and confidence in your Dad and his abilities.
. I am sorry for your loss.
September 8, 2020
Coach Ezell was dear to me--my biology teacher, basketball coach and mentor. As the first male of African American descent attending Woodward Academy, my memories of him are vivid, with Woodward being a meaningful and pivotal time in my life. I remember the personal interest Coach Ezell took in me when taking his biology class my first year there. I will never forget the acknowledgement, slight smile and pride on his face when I made either a B+ or an A- on his first biology exam. I saw that same look again 20 years later when Coach Ezell attended my first Board of Governors Meeting. When we shook hands, he stated "Clarence, you opened my eyes." My response, "No Coach, you opened mine!" He made me feel confident, when confidence was lacking. Made me feel smart, when wasn't so sure. Made me feel like I belonged, at a time I felt so alone. He was a great man, who I both loved and admired.
P.S. He also busted me and Brent Havens smoking cigars in the dorm, when staying over for a Holiday Season basketball tournament. We just knew we were in trouble-- demerits, suspension from basketball team, etc. When he busted into the room, "You boys doing okay?" We were speechless, eyes wide open, mouths wide open... He laughed, turned around and left, never saying anything about it, neither to us nor anyone else. Whew!!! Needless to say, he definitely took the fun out of smoking those cigars. They were expensive, too!
September 8, 2020
Petty and Patti: I loved to say their names together. We shared trips to Helen, GA with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and many Woodward events. During our friendship, we said all sorts of stuff to each other, comfortable in our relationship. He changed his mind eventually but told me that he didn't think a girl should be the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You can guess what I said to that. He once put his arm across my shoulders and said, "Carolyn, you'd be a good looking woman if you lost some weight." Yet this blunt man loved his God and little music boxes. He is a part of my memories. I probably still have some of his Christmas cards after he found love again after losing Patti. Praying that his family feels now the peace that passes understanding.
September 4, 2020
Petty “adopted” my family as his own. We were his neighbors in Rogersville, on Polk St. We lived across the street from Petty. He was always doing for me and my children. He spoiled us, not only with gifts but the most rewarding gift of all, his company, our long talks and daily visits. We will always remember our special times with Petty. Especially those yummy pancakes! We will miss him deeply but confidently look for to being reunited with him again on that GREAT DAY when we are taken to our Heavenly home!
Petty was one of the best humans I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and loving♥️
September 4, 2020
My deepest condolences to you @ your family. The Ezell family always had a monthly supper gathering at a restaurant. When Jim @ I came for a visit to Alabama we always enjoyed coming to the suppers @ enjoyed our time with Petty @ family. One time Petty invited us to his place for dinner @ made us a delicious meal! He was a great cook!
Praying @ thinking of you all!
Mary Ann Kelly
September 4, 2020
I will always remember you, Petty, as my elder in the Lord, and for introducing me to the “ Fuchsia” bible that we studied together for some time. You were faithful to always point others to Jesus Christ, which was your life’s mission. I will see you in the near future, Friend and Brother 🙏