Former Macon City Councilman Giles O'Neal died early Saturday morning.
O'Neal, 78, passed away just before 4 a.m. in the emergency room at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, reportedly from a heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Ann.
O'Neal served on City Council from 1979 until he resigned in 1982. During his time in public service, he stood in opposition to multiple facets of city government, from tax assessments on property that he deemed to be "excessive, erratic and irrational" to a construction project awarded to a non-local firm.
Fellow council member and current Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Ed Defore said those stances weren't taken haphazardly.
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"He was a gentleman," Defore said. "He thought things out, working with the city attorneys."
Defore said he considered O'Neal a friend who had the entire city in mind during his brief term in office.
"He wanted to make sure everybody received the same," Defore said.
Another friend, Albert Reichert Jr., described O'Neal as a "community-minded man." As an example, he pointed to a time in the 1970s when O'Neal took then-Telegraph editor Don Carter on a canoe trip down the Flint River to illustrate what would be lost if a proposal to dam the river near Thomaston went through.
"We need more people with Giles' spirit for the community," Reichert wrote in an email.
Hart's Mortuary will handle the funeral arrangements, which had not been finalized as of Saturday afternoon.