DACULA -- Wendell Holcombe's memories of his dear friend Larry Fleeman bring both a laugh and a tear.
Fleeman, a former mayor of Dacula who was a business leader in Gwinnett, died Wednesday at age 66, after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
"He was a good man. I'm going to truly, truly miss him," Holcombe said of Fleeman, who served as mayor from 1979 through 1985, according to a city website.
Holcombe, a long-time councilman who served alongside Fleeman, said with a laugh the two "nearly sold" the old city hall, until they found out that state law required bidding. In all seriousness, though, Fleeman led the city through a time when several ordinances were introduced to protect the city.
In fact, after he moved outside the city limits, his friend joked that the council should annex Fleeman's Harbins home so he could return as mayor.
A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, Fleeman built his career on cars. He opened U.S. Auto Sales, with partner Marvin Hewatt, in 1992. The company is now the largest pre-owned car dealership in Georgia.
A mason with Lawrenceville Masonic Lodge No. 131 F & AM and a member of the Gwinnett Chairmans Club, Fleeman had many friends in the community, Holcombe said.
"I do not know anybody that Larry wasn't a good friend to. He would help anybody he could," Holcombe said. "I can't even start to imagine how much I am going to miss him. He was like a brother to me."
The family will receive friends during visitations set for 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Tim Stewart Funeral Home in Lawrenceville.
Funeral services will be held 2 p.m. Sunday at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, with burial following at Alcova Baptist Church Cemetery in Lawrenceville.