Phillip Earl Overton, 80, of Panama City Beach, Fla., passed away Sunday, Sept. 9, after an extended illness.

Phil was born in 1937, in Bertie County, N.C., son of James Roosevelt and Helen Thomas Overton.

He graduated from East Carolina University in 1962, where he met his future wife, Wanda Sue Stone. He began his career with the Rocky Mount, N.C., health department. He later worked at Burlington Industries in Rocky Mount and Mount Olive, N.C. He moved to Georgia in 1971, and worked for The Bibb Co. in Fort Valley and Crown Crafts Inc. in Calhoun. In 1980, he became CEO of the Calhoun/Gordon County Chamber of Commerce. He was president of the Calhoun Optimist Club, member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club, and board member of the Coosa Valley Technical School. In 1991, he was named president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Executive Association and in 1994, was honored as the Professional of the Year by the organization.

In 1996, he became CEO of the Brunswick/Glynn County Development Authority. He was instrumental in forming a six-county development authority in Southeast Georgia and was the CEO of the organization. The authority formed a partnership with Norfolk-Southern Railroad and led the building of a connecting track to the Port of Brunswick. The connector was named “Overton Junction” in his honor, one of his proudest career accomplishments.

He retired from the development authority in 2005, and became a consultant for Norfolk-Southern Railroad. During this time, he led the building of two crossing sidings. In 2014, due to his failing health, he and his wife moved to Panama City Beach to be near their youngest daughter and son-in-law. Phil was an avid fisherman, and was known for his fabulous fish fries. He was a member of Bass Masters and enjoyed fishing trips to Alaska, Montana, and the Florida Keys. He was a member of Woodlawn United Methodist Church of Panama City Beach. While living in Calhoun, he was a member of First Baptist Church, where he was a deacon. He was a member of First Baptist Church while living in Brunswick.

Overton is survived by his wife of 55 years; two daughters, Beth Johnson (David) of Monroe, Ga., and Susan Bozarth (John) of Panama City; grandchildren, Ben (Sarah) Johnson of Charlottesville, Va., Katie Johnson of Atlanta and J.P. Bozarth (Sheena) of Panama City; and two great-grandchildren, Oakley Magnolia Johnson and Mason James Bozarth.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his older brother, Clayton Overton.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. today, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, at the Kent-Forest Lawn Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Steve Irwin officiating. Interment will follow at Evergreen Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. until service time at the funeral home.

Donations in his memory can be made to Woodlawn United Methodist Church Backpack Blessings (219 N. Alf Coleman Road, Panama City Beach, FL, 32407), St. Judes Hospital (262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN, 38105), or the charity of your choice.

Kent-Forest Lawn, 2403 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, FL 32405 850-763-4694, is in charge of the arrangements. www.kentforestlawn.com

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