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THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE ELBERTON GRANITE ASSOCIATION, INC. I love visitors! Working for the EGA, I get the chance to meet people every day who come to visit the granite association and to see our museum. We in fact have thousands of visitors each year and it is always amazing the diversity we encounter. People come from all over the State of Georgia, from all over America and from all over the world, with one thing in common. They want to know more about Elberton granite and what we do here in the Granite Capital of the World! I wish I had the opportunity to meet all of these visitors in person but unfortunately that is just not possible. I do however on occasion get to fill in at the museum and I always enjoy that. It gives me a chance to meet the people who come to visit us and to share with them the story of Elberton granite and our industry. Most people who visit us generally have little to no idea of the work that is done here or the products that are crafted here. Being able to relate to them the history and story of exactly what we do is always fun for me. I can see in their expressions, as the intrigue begins to build, of what it takes to craft a granite memorial. The sheer size and weights of the granite we work with is overwhelming to people who do not think about it every day. On top of that, you add in the volume of work and coordination it takes to get granite from the quarry to the plant and now you have really piqued their interest. Once they get a little bit of information, they want more. It still fascinates me to think about the whole process of crafting monuments and the thousands and thousands of monuments we produce here in Elberton every year. Most people don’t realize or even give it a second thought. They forget that a monument is a work of art and that there is a considerable amount of time and craftwork that goes into them. I also like to explain to our visitors, that a monument brings closure to families that are grieving and helps ease their pain during difficult times. The work we do here has touched millions of lives and helped them to remember their loved ones. As they leave, I hope they take away a better understanding and a new found respect for what we do here. It makes me proud to be able to tell our visitors the story of Elberton granite and to show them the love and craftwork that goes into every monument that we produce. We love visitors! Please make it a point to come see us and hear the story of Elberton granite. Bicknell Supply Company Announces The Retirement of Mr. John AltmanAfter 41 faithful years of employment, John Altman has declared it time to retire. John began working for Bicknell Supply Company October 17, 1974. His first position’s responsibilities were to load and unload freight from trucks coming and going in the warehouse. After 10 years John was ready for a change and in the beginning of April, 1984 he was offered the position on the front counter as customer service. After about two weeks, John determined that the position of customer service just was not for him and on April 17, 1984 he was offered to be moved to the shipping department where he stayed for the remaining 32 years of his employment with Bicknell Supply Company. In John’s 41 years with Bicknell Supply Company, he was faced with many changes along the way. From changing positions, to changing managers, to changing times. John went from everything being filed and logged with a paper trail, to everything being logged into a computer. John stated, “The transition to computers was just one of those things I had to do. It came to me, though. You just start and go.” John claimed to this day he still does not own a personal computer. When asked about his time with Bicknell Supply Company John stated, “I enjoyed my time here. You’re basically part of a family. There were good times and there were bad times. We’re all human, but we’re family.” He further stated, “I did the best I knew how to do because getting the packages out correctly to every customer was my way of saying thank you to them for trusting us at Bicknell.” John told himself when difficult times happened, “Look at your options and weigh your benefits. Don’t give up what you have, just get the job done.” John attributes his good work ethics and morals to his mother, grandmother and grandfather. John’s father passed away when he was only three. This left his grandfather as the father figure to help mold John into who he is and John took tidbits of his grandfather’s wisdom and lived by them. John loves to read and has books scattered throughout his home. He loves music and once played the alto saxophone in different bands throughout his life. He loves history, especially military history and history involving wars. John took a few minutes to think when asked about his plans for retirement. He said he really has no plans except to enjoy life. John also would like to visit the Smithsonian one day. We at The Elberton Granite Association would like to congratulate John for his retirement and to thank him for an honorable and faithful time of employment with Bicknell Supply Company. The Elberton Granite Association Announces the Much Deserved Retirement of Mr. John Fleming It is with regret but warmest wishes that The Elberton Granite Association announces the retirement of Mr. John “The Doc” Fleming, effective the end of 2017. John’s leaving marks the end of an era for the granite world as we have all become so accustomed to his warm smile, and vast knowledge of the granite industry. Whether it be the 1st time one has ever spoken with Mr. Fleming or the 9,000th time, Mr. Fleming always gives you all of his attention and makes you feel that you are of utmost importance to him. Mr. Fleming currently holds the position of Granite Inspector for The Elberton Granite Association. When he is not on inspections, he can be found at the Granite Museum teaching anyone ready to learn just where and how the granite industry began and where it is going. Mr. Fleming began his working career in the United States Navy. He served his country for 4 years and after seeing everything the Navy had for him to see, he came back home and began his lifelong career in the granite industry. In 1962, Mr. Fleming was hired to work at Keystone Memorials. There he earned to nickname “Doc”. John’s main responsibility was to polish the stones. When there was a mistake or scratch on a stone, it was just second nature to send the stone to “the Doc” to be fixed. John also ran the profile machine and the joint machine. He worked as an Inspector and a Foreman throughout his years with Keystone. John stayed at Keystone Memorials for a very impressive 40 years before he took to his first retirement in 2004. Mr. Fleming reminisced about his time there and recalled that he was there to see each of Tom Oglesby’s children born. He recalled fondly watching George, Ross and Laura grow into the people they are today. In 2014, after 10 years of retirement, Tom Oglesby asked Mr. Fleming if he would come help at the museum and serve as the EGA’s granite inspector. Mr. Fleming stated, “I was only supposed to help for a few weeks and here I am 3 years later”. Mr. Fleming served the granite industry a total of 55 working years. “I have a lot of yard work to take care of and I need to pay attention to my health. But I will still be around. I have to come in to see what all is going on,” states Mr. Fleming. The Elberton Granite Association would like to thank Mr. Fleming for all of his years of dedication, service and knowledge. He will be missed in his day-to-day interactions with everyone. If you are in the area between now and the end of December, stop by and tell Mr. Fleming “farewell”. Star Granite & Bronze Announces Retirement of Ann Moore After 32 Years of Employment Ann Moore announced earlier this year that she was to retire from Star Granite & Bronze. Ann worked with Star Granite & Bronze for 32 years in various different positions throughout the company. Ann worked as a receptionist, a sales representative and also as a customer service manager. Star Granite & Bronze held a Retirement Reception on Thursday, November 2, 2017 to honor Ann. The reception was held at the Elberton Country Club in Elberton, Georgia. Ann’s presence in the office will be missed. But everyone that worked with Ann knows that she deserves a long and happy retirement! Owner Rusty Adams said, “After this many years of hard work and dedication, we wish Ann all the best in her well-deserved retirement.” The Elberton Granite Association would like to congratulate and thank Ann Moore for her years of hard work and dedication. We would also like to wish her many happy years of retirement! The Elberton Granite Association Hires New Marketing Coordinator The Elberton Granite Association is proud to announce Mona Agnew as the new Marketing Coordinator. Mona comes from a small town in Indiana where she joined the Navy and served as a Naval Intelligence Cryptologic Technician. Once Mona left the Navy she continued her career in Marketing and Advertising Design. She spent ten years as the Advertising/Marketing Assistant for a company based out of Ohio. Mona was responsible for the printed and digital advertising and signage along with the weekly circulars for up to eighteen store locations. In 2013 Mona moved to Georgia where she worked for a marketing agency in Norcross before moving to Hartwell. After finding the culture of Hartwell and Elberton a little less fast paced, Mona decided to adjust her career path more toward the granite industry and began working as a laser artist and department manager for a local granite company. These three positions combined has made the transition to the EGA a smooth and easy one. She has been working in Adobe Photoshop since 1988 when the program was released and can easily take care to make sure all of your memorials and monuments look exceptional. Mona is excited to get to know each of the members so that she can serve her new position even better. Any Graniteer submissions or questions can be sent directly to her at Design Mart Announces New Hebrew Font And On-Screen Keyboard Design Mart announces the release of an all new Hebrew font as well as an on-screen keyboard. In the past users had to type characters on their English keyboards until they found the Hebrew characters they were looking for. Now there is a miniature keyboard that appears after the David font is selected as shown in the image below Design Mart’s Online Monument Designer and Online Catalog allows retailers and their customers to draw designs and email them instantly or search Design Mart catalogs for the ideal monument design. A color image and a CAD file are generated. This allows families to see exactly what the monument will look like, and provides a CAD file that can go straight to any granite supplier – saving the time of waiting for drafting departments to match files. The Designer is completely web-based. No software installation is required, and no CAD experience is necessary. Anyone with an internet connection can use it. Free 30-day trials are available. Please go to for information on DMart’s Monument Designer. You may also email or call 800-736-7455 if you have any questions or wish to give it a try. Porcelains Unlimited Enhances Their Wireless Wizardry By Incorporating RFID into Their Time Keeper Using their ever evolving technology, Porcelains Unlimited is able to embed a RFID smart tag device using Near Field Communication (NFC) inside a Porcelains Unlimited urn or memorial. Two patents have been awarded for this technology. One patent is for individuals living and non-living and the second is for objects, living and non-living organisms. When a loved one with a smart phone or tablet is within 12” of the urn or memorial featuring the NFC device, it instantly and automatically communicates with the urn or memorial to open their loved-one’s custom profile page on the Eternal Time Keeper website. Recently Porcelain’s Unlimited incorporated a new sensor combining RFID and NFC for companies utilizing the RFID component from serialization through the use of NFC by consumer validation. This patent-pending technology will help younger generations learn about their grandparents, great grand parents and relatives in a way that fits their connected lifestyle. Family and friends are able to upload, view and share stories , photos and videos on the online custom profile page. This page can be accessed from any computer or smart phone with internet access with no software to install and no batteries to replace, ever. First Annual Golf tournament Great times were had by all at The First Annual Elberton Granite Association Golf Tournament on September 15, 2017. The event was held at Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Richard B. Russell State Park. There were plenty of prizes and awards to be given out, keeping competition and fellowship a continuous theme for the day. The 1st place winners of the 1st flight were Stacey Drake of Granite Sales and Supply Corp., Eli Scott and Jonathan Shiflet. 2nd place winners of the 1st flight were Sandy Thornton of Brownstone Memorials, Inc., Bill Rogers and Todd Yeargin. 1st place winners of the 2nd flight were Quinn Floyd of A.Q. Stone Design, Co., Michael Hughes of Bicknell Supply Co. and Rodney Ashworth. 2nd place winners of the 2nd flight were Robert Kesler, Ben Emery and Jason Floyd. The winner of the longest drive was Craig Lefeure. Jonathan Shiflet won the award for closest to pin and Steve Banks won the putting contest. The hole in one winner was Ray Cannon with Central Granite Company, Inc. Ray hit the hole in one on the very last hole of the day! Great job to all! This event could not have been the success it was without all of the support and efforts of our EGA members and the community. We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts. All proceeds are to continue our efforts on public education about the granite industry through the growth of our Elberton Granite Museum. Shown on the front and back cover is the impressive stone working expertise of RiverEdge Granite Company, Inc. along with the Elberton’s own renowned sculptor and artisan, Steve Mooney. This monument is an extraordinary example of a hand crafted, replica of an oak tree stump. Hands-on carving of this memorial took only about three months, while the overall process and planning took about a year. “This is certainly different from the normal thing that you find in a cemetery. It leans more along the lines of a fine art sculpture.” stated Steve Mooney when asked to discuss his work on this memorial. Most monuments in the form of a tree stump symbolize a life cut short. However, when Steve was asked the significance of this particular tree, his response was that he tried to carve it to symbolize strength and life. This was of perfect intent for Steve to keep in mind during his sculpting process as Mr. Bridge is a hard working logger by profession and lives, along with his wife, in the woods. Mr. and Mrs. Bridge love watching the numerous squirrels frolicking in the trees around their home and actually have a pet squirrel. Attempting to portray the intricate details carved into this impressive monument is nearly impossible, as the entire stone has been meticulously carved. A honed cut out portion of the bark serves as the name panel for the family while the family name is featured with raised 6” tall hand-carved letters. The family name rests on a banner chiseled by hand measuring 8” tall. There are 3 squirrels shown on the tree measuring from 10 inches to 13 inches tall. Detail such as facial features can be found on all three squirrels. The ivy circling the tree, family name, banner and carved panel accents are all honed. The three squirrels along with the texture of the bark that covers this tree is steeled. The bark was crafted with chisels and diamond tipped blades before being steeled to give it the final touch. Steve described carving the bark, “It is almost like you have to get your rhythm going on and keep it moving.” This magnificently crafted tree stump was carved from a block of Peerless Blue granite quarried from Gold Eagle Quarries located in Elberton, Georgia. The block was two foot by two foot and seven foot, six inches tall. Steve Mooney describes the tree as a “direct, total subtractive, realistic representation”. Steve sculpted this monument without a template to follow. He took stone away but did not add anything to it in his efforts to create a realistic representation of a true tree stump you may find in nature. This monument will be transported to Salisbury Monument Company in Salisbury, Maryland where it will be erected and placed in Wicomico Memorial Park for the Bridge family. Keystone Memorials, Inc. crafted this monument for Patten Monument Company out of Comstock Park, Michigan. This beautiful fairy house memorial is a final tribute to Mrs. Susan Pantke who collected fairy houses in life. Mr. Pantke felt there could be no greater tribute to his beloved wife than to have her memorial as a replica of a fairy house. Andy Bolt from Patten Monument Company and George and Ross Oglesby from Keystone Memorials, Inc. took this photo of a fairy house and together they came up with this amazing design. The roof went through a few processes to reach the goal of looking like a layered shingle roof. Ross Oglesby from Keystone Memorials, Inc. began by sandblasting the lines for shingles. After the lines were formed he then went in and rock pitched the shingles to give them the rough, layered texture desired. The base of this memorial is stippled on 3 sides with a 2 1/2” core hole on one side. To allow space for the names and dates, a steeled bevel front was cut into the stone. Twelve years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Pantke lost their daughter. Patten Monument requested Keystone Memorials, Inc. fabricated their daughter’s Missouri Red memorial in the shape of a heart. Both memorials for mother and daughter can be found in Highlands Cemetery in Milford, Michigan. Mr. Pantke is hoping that in time, moss will grow along the roof of his wife’s beautiful fairy house. Glass Art Imaging Southern Mausoleums Southern Granite Company Dixie Granite Company Brownstone Memorial, Inc. Childs and Childs Granite Company Pyramid Materials, Inc. Porcelains Unlimited Majestic Granite Company Keystone Memorials Teamwork At Its Finest! What better way to honor our veterans than to pay them tribute with American made granite and fine, quality craftsmanship? Several of Elberton Granite Association members worked hand in hand to make this Stafford Armed Services Memorial a reality. The team from Elberton consisted of Dale Willis with Willis Dimension Stone, Patrick Adams of Star Granite Company and Tony & Stan Mills with L&M Granite Company, who led the project. Rick Burroughs, President and Owner of Kline Memorials in Manassas, Virginia was awarded the contract to design, build and construct this one-of-a-kind park and he reached out to Elberton’s L&M Granite Company to assist him in creating the granite pieces. Stafford Armed Service Memorial sits in Stafford, Virginia where it represents an entire community coming together to honor their veterans and their families. The memorial was established to honor the men and women of Stafford that gave their all serving our country. From the beginning of the walk, all the way to the end, there is a sense of pride, honor and remembrance. As you begin your walk into the Entry Plaza, you see a beautiful flag with a Georgia Blue/Gray granite bevel along the base. The bevel was created with a Jet Black granite veneer for the inscription of the major donor names for the park. Granite benches were placed on either side of the bevel to allow a place for visitors to take a moment to reflect. Centered in the Cadence Terrace part of the memorial stands nine American black granite war memorials. Each one representing a war that one of Stafford’s residents served in spanning from the Revolutionary War to The War on Terror. Along each side of Cadence Terrace is a Georgia Gray granite wall with a cap to allow seating that stretches the entire length of the terrace. Just beyond Cadence Terrace sits Monument Plaza featuring two prominent memorials made of Georgia Blue/Gray granite and jet black granite. The Jet Black granite globe floats above a pentagon-shaped base and is constantly turning with the movement of the fountain fed into the base. The globe is etched in a replica of planet earth while the base sits firm with each branch of the armed services etched onto its surface. At the very end of the park is the memorial wall made of Georgia Blue/Gray granite with a Jet Black granite veneer with the laser etching of soldiers throughout the years. Inscribed along the top of the wall is this famous quote from George Washington, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” A Georgia Blue/Gray granite wall sits on either side of the memorial wall with Jet Black granite benches built into them. John James “Jimmy” Parham Mr. John James “Jimmy” Parham, 80, of Woodland Rd., Elberton passed away Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital. Mr. Parham was born September 21, 1936 in Dekalb County, GA to Hester Glenn Parham and Elizabeth Reid Ingram Parham. Mr. Parham was owner of Jim Parham Originals before he retired in 2003. He was a member of Mill Shoals Baptist Church in Royston, a world known retired sandblast sculptor, former member of The Eblerton Granite Association and a member of the Shriners and Philomathea Masonic Lodge #25 in Elberton. Jimmy was a talented musician and played the bull fiddlealong with a few other instruments. Passion for his music and sculpting was not something Mr. Jommy Parham lacked. He loved each one. Mr. Parham was instrumental in the granite industry and forged his way through to create wonderful memorials for the loved ones of many people. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Jean Ginn Parham; daughters and son-in-law: Karen and Terry Brown; Sharon Bowers. Mr. Pharam’s grand children and great-grand children were his passion. Mr. Parham will be missed dearly by all. The Elberton Granite Association is deeply saddened by the loss of such a wonderful man. Our most sincere sympathies go out to the family and loved ones. Joyce Nelms Edwards Mrs. Joyce Nelms Edwards was called home to be with her Lord and Savior on Monday, September 4, 2017, at her home in Elberton, Georgia. Mrs. Edwards graced the earth and her all of her family and friends for 71 years. She was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina to Hope Boyd Nelms and Mary Pauline (Polly) Lakey Nelms. Nineteen years later she married her husband of 52 years, Larry Edwards. Mrs. Edwards was a member the First Baptist Church of Royston, the Elberton Granite Association and was the owner-operator along side of her husband at J&L Enterprises in Elberton, Georgia, East Alabama Monument Sales in Opelika, Alabama and a co-owner of Southern Granite and Marble in Macon, Georgia. She is survived by her husband of 52 years: Larry Edwards of the home; daughters and son-in-law: Susan and Terry Fortson of Elberton, GA and Cindy Edwards and her special friend Chuck Albro of Elberton, GA; brother: Keith “Pappy” Nelms of Royston, GA; grandchildren: Dalton Noggle, Ethan (Jessica) Fortson, Savannah Fortson, Tanner Brady; great-grandchildren: Masen Mize, Kason Holbrook; and a number of nieces and nephews. Mrs. Edwards will be missed dearly by all who were blessed to know her. The Elberton Granite Association would like to wish our warmest condolences to the family and loved ones. We were honored to know her.
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