LAWRENCEVILLE - The accolades and road namings celebrated Wayne Shackelford's life.
But in death, the former county administrator and state transportation commissioner was remembered for his service to God and to his family.
"He did everything with all of his heart," from spoiling his grandchildren to building roads around the state, the Rev. Inman J. Houston said at Shackelford's funeral Saturday. "As long as he had one last breath, he wanted to serve others."
After a "courageous" battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the county leader died Tuesday at the age of 75.
After his widow Anna was presented an American flag that symbolized not only Shackelford's service in the Army but to the state, he was buried at Gwinnett Memorial Park on Saturday.
The date was significant to the Shackelford family, as it marked the 50th anniversary of his wedding proposal to Anna.
During the funeral at Lawrenceville First Baptist Church, Houston talked about Shackelford's booming voice and leadership but also about his attentiveness and humble spirit.
"Like you, I am amazed at all Wayne Shackelford accomplished in his 75 years, but I knew him as my friend, Wayne, albeit a friend that knew every inch of pavement in this state," he said, adding that he only learned about Shackelford's lofty position after driving through the Interstate 85 at Ga. Highway 316 interchange named in his honor.
"Wayne Shackelford was my hero," Lamar Holley said. "Wayne came a long way in life and touched the lives of so many."
Houston read a letter from former Gov. Zell Miller, who appointed Shackelford to the post of state transportation commissioner, at which he prepared Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games.
"Wayne Shackelford was one of those people who once you meet them your life is never quite the same," Miller wrote. "He was a brilliant man, a visionary who made things happen. His leadership not only in Gwinnett County but throughout the entire state made Georgia a better place to live.
"The great legacy he has left for us will be remembered for generations to come."
Shackelford's pall bearers included two former state transportation commissioners, Tom Moreland and Harold Linnenkohl, and two former Gwinnett County chairmen, Bill Atkinson and Wayne Mason, who were in office in the 1970s when Shackelford was the county's top administrator.
"In 2009, it's easy for us to look at Gwinnett County and see that all this progress that sometimes frustrates us, and think it happened by accident," Houston said, noting that the county's population was 50,000 when Shackelford moved to Gwinnett as an extension agent, blossomed to 200,000 when he left county office and is now nearly 800,000. "In the middle of all that growth was Wayne Shackelford. ... At the center of that story has to be a great visionary."