Zell Moody, 83, a lifelong resident of Jeff Davis County, passed away peacefully on June 17th after a valiant battle with dementia with his loving wife of 31 years, Sandy Moody, holding his hand during his transition.
Zell was born in Jeff Davis county in his beloved community of Snipesville in 1937 to the late Hyman and Bertie Moody. As the second youngest child of thirteen, he was one of ten brothers and three sisters born into a depression era farming family. For some time, they had to live in a tobacco barn after their modest house burned down until a new one could be built.
As a child he attended Excelsior School at Snipesville. He often commented that even though his family was large and everyone worked on the family farm, his parents deemed an education a top priority and made sure they always attended school, having never missed a day due to the relentless workload of the farm. During his school years he was a standout basketball player and graduated from Jeff Davis High School in 1955.
Like all of his brothers, Zell proudly joined the military, serving his country for four years in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Mount Katmai, an ammunition supply ship, in the Pacific and Far East. He would jokingly say that he never owned a pair of underwear until the Navy issued him a pair. After a chuckle, he would follow that with, “I’m not joking, that was the truth”. The total number of years the Moody brothers served in the military far exceeded 100 years and is a Georgia state record for the most years served by one immediate family and most members of a family, 10. Only one other family in California is known to have served more years nationwide.
Among the many things the Navy provided Zell as a young man was a trade and an opportunity to make a living in the refrigeration business. When he got “off the boat” in California he got a job servicing commercial refrigeration units. The owner of the company gave him a truck full of tools, supplies and a handful of invoices and sent him on his way. He quickly saw the substantial difference between the amount of the invoices he was handing out for his hard work, compared to the amount of his paycheck on Fridays. He then surmised, that all he needed was his OWN truck full of tools, supplies and a handful of invoices.
He relocated back a short time later with the same entrepreneurial spirit. Long before Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal” in New York City, Zell Moody perfected it in Snipesville, Georgia.
With his wife and business partner, Sandy Moody, they managed several small businesses and rental properties in Jeff Davis County. Never known for extravagance or the need of it, they lived in a small apartment, the same size as their tenants, for more than 30 years. Zell was a longtime Mason and lifetime member of Union Springs Baptist church.
Mr. Moody was preceded in death by his parents Hyman and Bertie Moody; brothers, Fred Moody, James Moody, Dan Moody, Dwight Moody, J.H. Moody, Carroll Moody and Allen Moody; sisters, Eunice Moody, Maureen Moody, and Elizabeth Moody; and his son, Eddie Moody.
Survivors include wife Sandy Moody; stepsons, Lee Kight and Jeff Kight; brothers, Gene Moody and Johnny Moody; and several grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Family visitation will be held Monday, June 21st at 1:00 in the chapel of Wainwright Parlor funeral home in Hazlehurst, Georgia. Services will be held at 2:00 with the Rev. Robert Wigley and Rev. Royce Hulett officiating. Music will be provided by Dustin Hutto, Terry Hester and Monica Turner. Graveside services will be held immediately afterward at Union Springs Baptist cemetery in Snipesville, Georgia.
Active Pallbearers will be Zach Johnson, Derek Johnson, Tim Taylor, Jeff Brewer, Roy Anderson, and David McDonald. Honorary Pallbearers will be the Jeff Davis High School Class of 1955.
A guestbook will be available to sign at website wainrightparlor.com
Wainright Parlor Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
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