It was a somber day for residents in the Azalea City as their popular mayor is laid to rest. Mayor James Rainwater, Jr. died over the weekend. Funeral services were held Wednesday bringing closure to a difficult week.
It's still difficult for many people around Valdosta to believe Mayor Rainwater is really gone, but Wednesday they got a chance to focus on his life of service. Many people remember Mayor James Rainwater as a tireless public servant whose impact could be felt around the state of Georgia.
"If he had a penny for every hour that he spent helping people, he'd be a multi-millionaire, totally committed to Valdosta and Southwest Georgia. He had a vision for this community's future, he had a vision for a brighter day in Southwest Georgia, a stronger economy, stronger community," said Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.
There wasn't enough room at the First Baptist Church to accommodate all the people wanting to say their final good-byes. Off duty police officers lined the streets in front of the church to honor their former boss one last time, and even though there were many tears of sorrow, old friends took time to remember the difference mayor rainwater made in their lives.
"He was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I've ever known, so qualified to be Mayor," says Max Lockwood, Mayor of Douglas, GA.
An inspiration and friend to many voters in the Azalea City, he proved that by having served five terms as mayor. As you can see, James Rainwater had quiet an effect on this community, and many here say it will be difficult to move on without him.
He was laid to rest this afternoon at a private ceremony for close friends and family, just north of Tifton.