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Larry Donald Gholston, affectionately known as “Borat,” transitioned to his heavenly reward the evening of April 27, 2023 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center surrounded by his wife and children.
Larry was born on November 1, 1952 in Toccoa, Georgia, the 2nd of four children born from the
union of Cyrus Sullivan Gholston and Charlie Sue Gholston. Raised in Toccoa, he gave his life to Jesus Christ at an early age and was a lifelong and committed member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Larry attended Whitman Street High School and graduated from Stephens County High School in 1972, as one of its early Black graduates following integration. A steadfast believer in the value of education, Larry went on to earn a Bachelors degree from Piedmont College and also obtained a CNA License. With a heart to aid those ailing and in crisis, Larry began his career as a Paramedic with Stephens County Hospital before going on to work with the Georgia Mental Health Administration for many years.
On September 3, 1978, Larry married the love of his life the former Deborah Elaine Arthur. Their
blessed union produced two children, Larissa and Seth, whom he adored and honored as his greatest
accomplishment. For more than thirty years, Larry took great joy in partnering with Seth to target
Deborah and Larissa with inventive and often elaborate practical jokes.
A true model of servant leadership, Larry’s life was dedicated to helping others and strengthening the
community. His commitment to Christ and his church was recognized with his selection as a Deacon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where, until his death, he served faithfully for more than thirty-nine years and provided leadership as Chairman of the Deacon Board. An advocate of the continuous study of the Bible to support fulfillment of Christian stewardship, he was a longtime Superintendent of Sunday School. Deacon Gholston had a special calling to serve the youth. He was a scout leader of Pack 60 Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts at Mt. Zion Baptist Church which he used as a platform to teach young men life skills, teamwork, and the values of integrity and commitment. He was a consistent presence with the Mt. Zion Youth Department, always lending a helping hand and finding innovative ways to expose young people to new opportunities to feed their dreams. Larry was a lover of music, particularly historic and standard forms of Christian songs. This led him to become a member of a Note Singing Class where he loved singing with them and later attending almost every annual Note Singing Convention. He sang on the Mt. Zion Senior Choir for many years and led devotion for the church as well.
Larry believed that Christian service should not be confined to the walls of the church and distinguished himself as a leader in many community and civic organizations. He was the President of the Stephens County High School Band Boosters Program and started a Summer Basketball League where many youth of the community participated. Additionally, he served on the board of the Stephens County Community Federal Credit Union, the first institution in Northeast Georgia with the mission to provide financial services to the Black community. He was an entrepreneur. On Wednesdays, he made deliveries for Meals on Wheels in his spare time and served on the board of the Habitat for Humanity program in Toccoa, GA, providing permanent homes for families in need. He would often volunteer at the local elementary schools to read and interact with the students. With a vision for bringing the community together, he founded the annual Poke Sallit Festival, which will celebrate its 33rd anniversary this year. More recently, to ensure that future generations will remember the accomplishments of the past, Larry converted his great-grandparents’ home to the Historical Museum on Spring Street.
If you knew Larry, there were a few things that you would know for sure: He loved God. He loved his
family. He spoke his mind without fear of consequences and you never had to wonder where he stood on an issue. Larry was a manly man who always loved to work hard with his hands whether it was cleaning the neighborhood, cutting wood or gardening. He loved to joke around and make others laugh.
Larry leaves to cherish his memory Mrs. Deborah Elaine Gholston of Toccoa, GA, his dedicated and
loving wife of 43 years; two children: Larissa Kaarin Gholston of Lawrenceville and Seth Jerard Gholston (Kendal) of Lithonia; three grandchildren: Treyvon Antonio Ybarra, Cooper Seth Gholston, and Liam Carson Gholston; Sisters Brenda Gholston of Toccoa, GA and Teresa Gholston of Atlanta, GA, and Brother Ricky Gholston (Renee) of Austell, GA; one dear cousin Mr. Waymon Gholston of Commerce, GA; brother-in-law Mr. Daniel Arthur of Toccoa, GA; sister-in-law Karen Mangum (Clyde) of Virginia Beach, VA; bonus children Marina Woodruff of Atlanta, GA and William Woodruff (Amber) of Baltimore, MD, and a host of nieces and nephews. In addition, he is remembered by an extended host of Sons and Daughters from the Morehouse College Marching Band/Drumline and a host of Sons from the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of GA.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Poke Sallit Festival Fund (PSFF). Checks or cash can be made payable to Poke Sallit Festival Fund. You may use the following methods to contribute:
U.S. Mail: PSFF, c/o Seth Gholston, 131 Charles Hayes Road, Toccoa, GA 30577
CashApp: $SethGholston (note PSFF)