Late LaGrange mayor, West Point pastor inducted into Hall of Fame

Published 10:50 am Thursday, June 27, 2024

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The late LaGrange Mayor Willie T. Edmondson was inducted into the 2024 Georgia Municipal Government Hall of Fame posthumously on Monday, June 24 at GMA’s annual convention in Savannah. 

Willie T. Edmondson became the first African-American mayor in LaGrange, Georgia’s 195-year history. He served the City of LaGrange for 24 years as a city council member before being elected mayor in March 2023. In the position of mayor, he spent much of his time tirelessly working for unity in LaGrange. His life and career were based on helping the community. He began his career in the medical field as a nurse, then became the Senior Pastor at one of the largest churches in Troup County, Bethlehem Baptist Church. Serving in yet another capacity to help the community, Edmondson owned and ran Lakes-Dunson-Robertson Funeral Home. 

Callaway Foundation President Tripp Penn remembered Edmondson as a great leader who unified the community, “In today’s political environment, we need more leaders like Mayor Edmondson who demonstrated civility no matter the challenges in front of them. He left a great legacy to follow in LaGrange and I hope that those who succeed him will follow his example.” Racial Trustbuilding Executive Director Chalton Askew remembers Edmondson as, “breaking barriers and paving the way for inclusivity and diversity in leadership roles.” Former LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton described Edmondson as a true pillar of the community, “Through our collaboration and conversation, we were both able to grow and to serve our community, and I am grateful for his leadership and guidance.”

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Mayor Edmondson hosted the first-ever Mayor’s Christmas Ball in December 2023 creating a one-of-a-kind event that brought all parts of LaGrange together not only enjoying each other’s company but raising money for scholarships for young people who may need financial help going to college. He requested everyone attending the Mayor’s Christmas Ball to bring an unwrapped toy to give to Troup County children who may not have the financial means to have a Christmas. This event honored all of the former city council members and their service to the community. The unifying event sold out more than a month before the date.

Current LaGrange Mayor Jim Arrington says he plans to continue honoring Edmondson’s legacy, “Willie and I were not only colleagues but we were great friends too. It is my honor to help recognize his accomplishments and I plan to continue focusing on the projects that were important to him.”

To view the GMA Hall of Fame video honoring the late Mayor Willie T. Edmondson go to

The Hall of Fame recognizes city officials who have made extraordinary contributions to the city they serve and have exhibited strong support for GMA. This year’s other inductees are: 


Nancy Harris, former Mayor of Duluth


Paul Radford, City Manager of Sugar Hill


Randall Walker, Mayor of Perry and GMA’s immediate past president


“These leaders have set an exemplary standard of dedication and service to their communities and the state of Georgia,” said Larry Hanson, CEO and Executive Director of GMA. “Their visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to public service have significantly advanced the quality of life in their cities and have left a lasting impact on municipal governance in Georgia. We are honored to recognize their outstanding contributions and legacy.”

About the Georgia Municipal Association: Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit, and consulting services to all of Georgia’s 537 cities. GMA anticipates and influences the forces shaping Georgia’s cities and provides leadership, tools, and services that assist municipal governments in becoming more innovative, effective, and responsive. Created in 1933, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. For more information, visit