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Gee leaves a legacy arguably unmatched in Greer

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lonnie

David Grooms

Lonnie "Gee" McGee leads the Greer marching band in the playing of the National Anthem Friday night at Dooley Field.

 



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Greer Mayor Rick Danner's expression, as he looks at Gee at Dooley Field Friday night, tells of the the city's affection and adulation.
 
 
 

David Grooms

Greer Mayor Rick Danner's expression, as he looks at Gee at Dooley Field Friday night, tells of the the city's affection and adulation.

 

 

 



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Gee leads his own parade, in front of the Greer High School Marching Band, Friday night.
 

Julie McCombs

Gee leads his own parade, in front of the Greer High School Marching Band, Friday night.

 



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Gee will return to lead the Greer Marching Band in the annual Greer Christmas Parade on Dec. 6.
 
 
 

File Photo

Gee will return to lead the Greer Marching Band in the annual Greer Christmas Parade on Dec. 6.

 

 

 



Greer has been put through the wringer.

And yet, through one of its most tumultuous and stressful weeks in memory, Greer has paved the road to Lonnie “Gee” McGee’s new home in Clinton with the love he shared with his citywide family.

It’s been four days since GreerToday.com first published that Gee was leaving Greer. It’s been 4.5 days since city officials learned that as of last Wednesday morning Gee was due in Clinton.

Through the guarantee of the Greer Police Department (GPD), and permission from his legal guardian, great aunt Hattie Robinson, 88, who is undergoing cancer treatment after a breast removal, Gee was given a three-day pass.

It was as much for the city to honor him with an impromptu parade and symbolic gifts – key to the city, No. 1 football jersey and a lanyard of whistles – at the beginning of Friday’s season-ending Greer High School football season. Of course, Gee was treated to dinner at the Clock restaurant on Wes Poinsett Street.

Gee woke up Sunday morning, after spending his first night in Clinton at a Charles Lea Center facility. He won’t be returning to Greer again unless for special circumstances.

That will come on Dec. 6, when the Greer Christmas Parade is held.

“Gee will be at the Christmas parade,” GPD Sgt. Jeff Smith said. “There’s no Christmas parade without Gee.”

The GPD has, more than anyone or group of people, watched over Gee, 63, for decades.

 

Sgt. Chad Richardson is a former school resources officer at Greer High School and now is a Community liaison between the police and public. He said he foresees a monument dedicated to Gee.

 

“I wouldn’t be surprised by next football season, you wouldn’t see a big statue (at Dooley Field)," Richardson said. "I can see that happening very easily. I don’t know of anybody else in Greer, and there have been so many icons that have come through that had had their (merits), who has touched everybody like Gee has.”

Here are some whimsical and endearing memories of Gee.

“There was a time we got a call when we were working a wreck that someone was directing traffic in the middle of the road at (highways) 29/14. Gee had walked by us and picked a yellow traffic vest off the car. It was Gee out there blowing his whistle telling people what to do.”

Smith was working a festival downtown.

I remember working Family Fest one year, and a group, they had to be out-of-towners, got our attention. There were some little kids making fun of Gee.

“I honest to God thought we were going to have a riot. There were people chasing those kids up the street for messing with Gee.”

Phil Clark remembered youth basketball games Gee unofficially officiated.

“Gee would be at the games and be running up and down the court. He would blow his whistle, distracting the players, and say ‘First Down.’”

Richardson recalled a story told to him when Gee carried a baton to football games.

“One night Gee was twirling the baton and threw it into the stands and hit someone. You know what that person did? He walked down the stands and handed it right back to him. That just goes to show how people treat people here.”

And, Smith said, “It’s a testament to (Gee’s) life. “You’ve got doctors, lawyers and politicians from Greer and you meet them out in the community. You hear them ask, ‘do you know so and so’ and they will say, no I don’t believe I know him. But if you ask if they know Gee they will say, ‘yeah I know him.’

“Gee is a stable of the community. He’s truly going to be missed and Greer is not going to be the same.”

 

 

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Lonnie "Gee" McGee

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