James Truman Holtzclaw

March 24, 1941 – August 31, 2010


James Truman Holtzclaw, the son of the late Carl Thomas Holtzclaw and the late Mildred Louise Couch Holtzclaw Medders, passed over peacefully in the home of a dear friend in Young Harris, GA. where he was receiving professional, compassionate care from the staff of the Regency Hospice Agency.  A long-time resident of Union County, his home was near Lake Nottley dam.

He was born when the family was living in a duplex on Dunn Street in Smyrna, GA, his uncle and aunt, Farris and Margaret Reece Holtzclaw, and their four-month-old son, Norman, living in the other side.

His grand-parents were James Luther “Jim” Holtzclaw and Rachel Amanda Dobson Holtzclaw (originally of Dawson County) and Thomas Roy Couch and Gaudie Mae Gray Couch (originally of Paulden and Coweta Counties), all whom lived in/near the Oakdale Community just south of Smyrna.

He was raised in and around Oakdale and Smyrna and the Little Five Points area of Atlanta, among several other locations in the Atlanta area.  Following the divorce of his parents, his first two years of school were at Fitzhugh Lee in Oakdale during the time he and his brother, Travis, were living with Ezra and Lula Cantrell Allen off Camp Highland Rd.  From there, the boys relocated to Little Five Points to live with their mother and step-father, Ernest Millard “E.M.” Medders, and attended Moreland Elementary School.  Later, the family returned to the Oakdale community where they lived on Gilmore Road, and Truman attended Fitzhugh Lee, now in the fourth grade. 

In 1953, after another move back to Little Five Points and his re-enrollment in Moreland School, the family relocated to Gober Ave., between Smyrna and Fair Oaks, a short distance from Green Acres School where he was in the seventh grade.  From there he entered Campbell High School.  In 1955, he and Travis moved to live with their father and his brother, Silvey (“Sycamore”), off Camp Highland Rd.  Truman excelled as a star in football and track, graduating in 1960.  He was awarded a football scholarship to Mississippi State University where he was the leading ground gainer on the freshman squad. 

Returning home, he married Rosemary Waller of Smyrna in 1961.  About 1962, he enlisted in the US Air Force Reserves at Dobbins AFB, Marietta, being called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  He was discharged from the Air Force in 1968.  Following their divorce, he married Vivian Moore of Elberton and Atlanta, GA.  He is survived by four wonderful children:  Todd and Chris (Charlotte, NC, area), and, Melanie Mize and Jeremy (Anderson County, SC), and 13 grandchildren; brother, Travis (Dewey, AZ); half-brothers, Richard Medders (Spokane, WA), Larry Medders (San Francisco, CA), Jeffrey Couch Medders (deceased, Atlanta) and Ernie Medders (Atlanta area); former step-mother, Barbara Ann Powers Holtzclaw McCoy (Roswell, GA), and, half-sisters, Rachel Casper (Bremen, GA) and Kim Lorens (Dallas, GA). 

Gifted with multiple talents, Truman mastered several trades over his employment career including salesperson with ABC School Supplies in Buckhead and Harper Brothers Office Supplies of SC.  In the Blairsville area, he did hands-on work with an electrician and, later, installed and repaired water pumps (private and civic water supplies).  He became a carpenter building new houses (also, in Arizona); one project in that field being foreman of the crew that built the house where he lived in Union County.

Truman’s extended ancestry dates from the early medieval period of Europe; and, he had direct blood ties to at least five families of the original Jamestown Colony of Virginia.  He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and had several great-grandfathers who served in the Civil War: two wounded (one losing an arm in the Battle of Gettysburg, another suffered a chest wound at the Battle of Resaca), and one dying in Mississippi.  He was also proud of his Cherokee ancestry, being devoted to their traditional beliefs and practices, “the old ways,” which he respected and honored.

Among many other groups, Truman will be missed by the “Da Boys” of Smyrna, GA, and those country western dancing crowds where he, with his dancing partner and close friend of 25 years, Deb Edwards of Young Harris, GA, wore out themselves and the dance floors many a weekend night.

One of Truman’s great pleasures was to take his canoe and spend weekends challenging the rapids of the Nantahala and the Ocoee.  Another of his favorite pastimes was when he and Travis would play their guitars at night on the back porch of the cabin as their singing echoed through those deep mountain hollows. 

If you have fun memories of Truman to share, please bring them along with photos and mementos to a casual memorial gathering in his honor from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Saturday, Sept. 25th, at Meeks Park, Blairsville.

Directions:  West of Blairsville (4-lane coming from Blue Ridge) turn left at mile marker 8 into the entrance of North Georgia Technical College.  Take the first left, Senior Center Drive and the pavilion is about 200 yards down on the right.  Food and drinks will be provided.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Regency Hospice Agency, Hiawassee, GA, or, the Collins Springs Cemetery Association, Smyrna, GA. 

While we mourn for our father, brother and friend who will fade into our fond memories we should be thankful that he lived and that we were among those who were his family and friends.  




Regency Hospice Agency            

236 S Main St.

 Hiawassee, GA 30546

(706) 896-1251


Collins Springs Cemetery Association

6356 Fitzgerald Lane

Austell, GA 30168