Thomasville -- It was a sad Sunday morning for many in Thomas County.
Several residents just learning the news that District 7 Commissioner Robert Holton had died.
J. Elaine Mays served on the Thomas County Board of Commissioners with Holton. She said, "I saw him as a very compassionate person. I saw him to have a zeal for anything that he wanted to do, and that he felt was good for the community as a whole."
Holton died tragically yesterday in following a one car accident along US 319 in Thomas County. But authorities do not believe that the accident was what caused his death.
Medical officials have said they believe that Holton might have suffered a heart attack before his truck ran off the road in Thomas County.
No one else was involved in the accident, and investigators say that EMS paramedics performed CPR on Holton following the accident that occurred shortly after 5:30 PM Saturday afternoon.
Georgia State Patrol, who is in charge of the investigation, said very little damage was done to Holton's truck.
Commissioner Mays was shocked when she learned the news that Holton had died. "I thought, here's a guy that loved his family, loved his grandchildren and children, and just how really short life is," she said.
First elected to the board of commissioners in 2002, Holton was in his second term. He served on both the Finance Committee and Personnel Committee. But his true passion, according to colleagues, was helping those who are incarcerated.
"His idea was to try and get them to be good citizens. Secondly, it was to get them an education. His idea was if we could do both of those things for them, they would come out to be better citizens."
Holton, who also operated a business in Thomasville, represented both Metcalfe and parts of Thomasville. An active leader, who loved his community.
Mays adds, "Robert, he loved his job. He was an excellent mechanic. He loved what he was doing. I think when he joined the commission that his idea was to make Thomasville and Thomas County a better place to live."
A city and county that will truly miss a local leader.
An autopsy is being performed to determine the exact cause of death.
Holton leaves behind a wife, 4 children and 5 grand-children. No word yet on who will replace Holton in his District 7 commission seat.