The Cochran Funeral Home of Blairsville announces services for Mrs. Fay Harmon Clegg Hoag who peacefully died early Wednesday morning at 12:55 am of natural causes in Dahlonega, Georgia. Turning 100 in May, she was 99 years old and called Young Harris, Georgia her home for over 70 years. She wrote in 1983 about her beloved college town nestled in the Appalachian mountains: “It is said that one is closer to God here, and when that is said, reference is made to a mystical element rather than altitude.”
Fay Harmon was born in Maysville, Georgia on May 9, 1913 to Esther Eugenia Parks Harmon and George Washington Harmon. The family moved to Unadilla, Georgia, where years later she would meet Charles Rufus Clegg who would become her husband. Finishing high school, Fay attended Young Harris College, while Charles continued teaching in Unadilla. As love and fortune would have it, upon Fay’s graduation in June of 1933, she returned to Unadilla where she and Charles were married.
Charles’s job with The Civilian Conservation Core led them on a winding path through several southern towns, ending up in Clemson, South Carolina, where Charles received his college degree. Upon Charles’ graduation, Fay moved back to Unadilla with her two children Jean and Bud, with Charles working in Macon and visiting his family on weekends. In the early 40’s, the family moved to Clarkesville, Georgia where Charles had been asked to start the North Georgia Trade and Vocational School. It was in Clarkesville that their third child Charles Parks Clegg was born.
In 1950, Charles Clegg is asked to be President of the Methodist affiliated Young Harris College. And thus Fay’s destiny to make Young Harris her home is sealed. Fay writes of her homecoming to Young Harris: “It was the good fortune of the Unadilla girl to return to the campus, this time as wife of the president.” The Clegg family became intertwined with the community, a connection that would last through Fay’s lifetime with all three children graduating from YHC. Daughter Jean recounts that their dad would take time each day to go to Leon’s Grocery, sit on the bench, and talk to the locals. Fay was an active gardener and member of the Garden Club of Georgia, the Laurel District Garden Club, and the Enotah Garden Club. Fay belonged to Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church for all the years of her life in Young Harris and was a leader of the Women’s Society of Christian Service (United Methodist Women). She was a lay member to North Georgia Annual Conference and a delegate to Jurisdictional and General Conferences. Her faith and commitment to the church were augmented by her service as Chair of the Towns County Department of Family and Children’s Services and Board of Health, as well as being an active member of Beta Epsilon.
After thirteen years of presidency, President Charles Clegg suddenly died in 1963, marking an enormous change in the life of Fay and her children. She writes, “Instead of being the helper she now was the provider. Often out of heartaches and disappointments come blessings, and this was the case. The position of Alumni Director was vacated. I was asked to fill in until a director could be found. The fill in job lasted 13 years.” During this time, Fay and Dr. Merritt E. Hoag (Scotty, retired President of North Georgia College and University) were married. Upon Fay’s retirement, the couple lived in “Fay’s house” on Maple Street. “Mama Clegg” and Dr. Hoag spent many an hour on their back porch watching the birds and engaging in conversation with students, faculty, family and friends who would drop by for a visit. Shortly after her retirement, Fay writes, “No greater joy is mine than to answer the door and hear someone say, “Hello, Mama Clegg.” She continues saying, “The present students often drop by our home. This is one of the many advantages in living here. “
Fay’s life in Young Harris looms most large amongst her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. Preceding her in death was her brother, Howard Harmon, her parents George and Esther Parks Harmon, her first husband Charles R. Clegg, her 2nd husband, Merritt E. Hoag, and her son Charles Parks Clegg.
Surviving children are Mary “Jean” Dickinson Minus (Paul) of Claremont, CA, George “Bud” Clegg (Dale) of Dahlonega, GA, and John “Randy” Hoag (Becky), of Brussels, Belgium. Grandchildren are Timothy Dickinson of Dana Point, CA and Kathryn Clegg Dickinson (Istel) of Brooklyn, New York, George Mark Clegg, Jr. of Atlanta, Lauren Clegg Bell & Courtney Clegg Martin of Gainesville,Pete Hoag of Atlanta and Thomas Hoag of Los Angeles, CA. Great-grandchildren include Aimee Dickinson, Cordelia Clegg and Charlotte (Dickinson) Istel, George Parks and Tess Clegg, Kathryn and Reeves Bell, Clifford, Casey and Maggie Martin, and Evan Hoag.
In Fay Harmon Clegg Hoag’s own words: “You see life has been good to this South Georgia girl turned mountaineer. She has received far more than she has given.” Fay quotes the Psalmist as she reflects upon her life. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
A Memorial Service will be held at Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church in Young Harris, Georgia on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm with Dr. John Kay, Rev. Fred Whitley and Rev. David Tinsley officiating. Interment will be held at Old Union Baptist Church Cemetery.
The family will receive friends at Cochran Funeral Home of Blairsville on Friday evening from 6 until 8 pm.
In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate your contributions to the Clegg/Hoag Scholarship Fund to Young Harris College P.O Box 275, Young Harris, GA 30582.
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Cochran Funeral Home of Blairsville.