Remembered by friends and loved ones as an avid storyteller, a true Southern gentlemen and a fine lawyer, Dan Greer's death on Sept. 15 has left many Newton County residents missing their good friend.
The son of Bernard and Evelyn Hays Greer, W. Dan Greer, 78, died following a rapid decline in health. He left behind a large circle of friends and family members who warmly recall his penchant for telling long-winding stories and his deep comprehension of the law.
"Dan loved life and demonstrated his faith and beliefs by example," said Greer's sister, Faye Greer Ewing. "He expected the best of himself and others and embraced life fully and gave so generously of himself. It is my hope that we can celebrate his life by doing the same."
At the time of his death, he was the senior partner in the Covington firm of Greer, Stansfield and Turner LLP.
Frank Turner Jr., a partner with the firm, described Greer as a mentor to him and said it had been a great privilege to work with him for the past eight years.
"Dan Greer embodied everything that was good and noble in the legal profession and in many ways was a throwback to an earlier era," Turner said. "He had an extremely comprehensive knowledge of the law and it was a great privilege to get to work with him. All of us over here really loved him as a father."
Greer's beloved wife of 52 years, Martha Carrington Greer, preceded him in death. The Greer's two daughters Bonnie Tedder and Beth Dunlap said their father taught them to see both sides of a situation and to consider other's feelings. They say they have found this lesson to be particularly invaluable in their adult lives and careers.
"He had a great sense of humor and a great sense of perspective that I think is lacking in society. He knew what to let go," agreed Turner.
Family members recalled Greer's unfailing generosity of spirit, time and money. Tedder recalled how lovingly her father cared for their mother throughout her illness and death.
Echoed Faye Ewing, "He was always a big brother there to take care of me."
Greer attended Covington public schools as a child and was his senior class president at Covington High School. He attended Oxford College of Emory University and later graduated from Emory University with honors in 1950. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Laws from Emory's law school in 1951.
After graduation Greer became an assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia. He later joined George P. Dillard's law firm in Decatur. While in Decatur he served as an ADA for DeKalb County and as a judge for the city of Decatur's Municipal Court.
Greer also served as the Deputy Revenue Commissioner of the State of Georgia for approximately 20 years. During that time he became a partner in the Atlanta-based firm of Heyman and Sizemore. While in Atlanta he was involved in a broad range of issues including anti-trust laws and insurance regulation.
In 1982 Greer returned to Covington where he worked for the firm of Dillard, Greer, Westmoreland and Wilson until 1988. Later at Greer, Stansfield and Turner LLP his extensive legal knowledge on zoning and land use matters proved invaluable to the firm.
Wherever Greer traveled, he always seemed to know someone recalled his daughters. Described as a wonderful grandfather, Bonnie said her children loved to visit their grandfather on his farm in Newton County and to listen to his "Papa Tales."
"He was a storyteller and he was a talker," recalled Turner fondly. "He could exhaust you to a point. He really loved the English language and he could filibuster and I think it worked to his advantage in the courtroom. You didn't have brief conversations with Dan."
His civic involvement in Newton County was extensive. Among other things he was a longtime member of the Covington First United Methodist Church, the Covington Kiwanis Club, the old War Horse Lawyers Club, the Newton County Bar Association and the Alcovy Judicial Circuit Bar Association. He served as president of the Newton County Historical Society and as chairman of the Newton County Library Board. A lover of the arts, Greer was also actively involved with the High Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Atlanta.
A memorial service for Dan Greer will be held at 11 a.m., today at First United Methodist Church.
For more information see the Sept. 19, 2007 obituary in The News.