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Robert Hicks 1951-2022

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Robert Hicks, who sat on the Board of Directors of the Southern Garden History Society, died at home near Franklin, Tennessee, on Friday, February 25, 2022.
Fellow board member Barbara Adkins knew Robert for more than twenty years.  Barbara said, “Robert was a force for good. He was a preservationist, a gardener, and a storyteller.  A wise optimist.  A good man.”
Robert was moved by the stories of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, Carnton Plantation, and a cemetery of more than fourteen hundred graves dug in the aftermath of that battle. He spearheaded the restoration of the house and went on to found Franklin’s Charge, the organization that helped reclaim nearly 200 acres of the battlefield.
Robert wrote a novel in 2005 telling the story of Carnton Plantation.  Widow of the South became a best-seller and was followed by two sequels, A Separate Country (2009) and The Orphan Mother (2016.)
Robert Hicks will be deeply missed by members of the Southern Garden History Society and by all the communities he touched and illuminated.
Williamson Herald Obituary
The Washington Post Obituary


“Why The Civil War Still Matters” is an essay Robert wrote for the New York Times, published July 2, 2013, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg:




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Randy Harelson, President (Louisiana) Randy Harelson was born in Macon, GA to parents whose families both came from East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, for many generations. The family moved back to Louisiana when Randy was seven, but always called him their “Georgia peach.” Educated at LSU Lab School and Louisiana State University, Randy moved to Massachusetts in 1974 to teach art in an innovative “integrated arts in education” program in Attleboro Public Schools. A gardener since childhood, he worked at Hill-Roberts Elementary School to develop an “outdoor classroom” of trees, shrubs, and flowers while a full-time art teacher. He later served as a professional designer and assistant horticulturist at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Randy’s broad career has included writing and illustrating nine published books, and running a retail nursery in Seagrove Beach, Florida that won the S. J. Blakely Award in 2003. Back home in New Roads, Randy has planted a small arboretum of trees and shrubs both native and imported, documented in Louisiana by 1860. Randy first attended a SGHS annual meeting at Mount Vernon in 2010. The next year his home was included in the Sunday tours at the Baton Rouge meeting. Randy and his husband Richard Gibbs, an architect and gardener, have been members ever since, and Randy joined the board of directors in 2015. At home they care for two acres of gardens, a 500-year-old live oak, the 200-year-old LeJeune House, and a Siamese cat named Miss Priss.
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