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Inquirer Friend, James F. (Jim) Maddox, Atlanta’s Longest-serving City Council member, Dies at Age 88

“Dean of the City Council” and “Community Caretaker”

James F. (Jim) Maddox, a stern support of our senior citizens and our youth, had stated that we must “keep supporting and mentoring young people.”

Maddox was elected to public office in 1977 and served the people of Atlanta with distinction. He retired in 2009 after 32 years of leadership. Maddox served as the chair of Atlanta’s Community Development and Human Services committee, created the city’s E-911 system, produced the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission, and helped to open the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, amount other things. The Community Development and Human Services committee unanimously passed an ordinance to honor Maddox by name at the gateway to the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.

He was a graduate of Morehouse College and the Atlanta University School of Business Administration. He retired from Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems (Marietta, Georgia) as a contract administrator after 34 years of service. He also had worked with the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta as campaign public affairs director for ten years.

For several years, Maddox served as a Boy Scout leader and had been a member of West Hunter Street Baptist Church.

Maddox has always been a strong advocate of The Boy Scouts of America and had been a scout leader in previous years. Maddox’s leadership in the Atlanta City Hall chambers was one that exemplified several successes and positive steps of advancement for Atlanta and its communities; he set an example for up and coming leaders. Maddox always worked to improve the lives of our youth and worked to re-open our city’s recreation centers.

As a “Dean of the City Council” and “Community Caretaker,” Maddox assisted then-Mayor Maynard H. Jackson to develop minority involvement in the building of the Atlanta Airport and business opportunities. In May 2010, at a celebration event for Maddox at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, business giant Herman J. Russell, Sr. (now deceased) had recalled Maddox’s heavy involvement in Atlanta’s business community. Russell had stated that, in those days, people like John Calhoun, Q. V. Williamson and Jim Maddox were the leaders that “caught your eye and motivated us.” “We appreciate his [Maddox’s] dedication” and we honor him for making Atlanta a better city because of his work.

Maddox and his wife Alice and he were both from Atlanta, and he had delivered newspapers on Hunter Street (what is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive) when he was young.

At his celebration event in May 2010, Maddox had pointed out the irony of how, when he was younger, he and his wife had to go around the side of the Fox Theater and proceed upstairs to the balcony to view a movie, due to the harsh racism and discrimination of the day. Later in life, as a member of Atlanta’s City Council, he was presented the option of saving Fox Theater when others in the city wanted to destroy the historic and beautifully opulent landmark. Atlanta’s Fox Theatre was originally the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque and was designed in the late 1920s as headquarters for the 5,000-member Shriners organization. The Fox Theater prospered during the 1940s through 1960s. However, as audiences dwindled, Fox was threatened with closure and demolition. During the 1970s and 1980s, Maddox, along with other individuals and non-profit organizations, helped to launch the “Save the Fox” campaign and later the “Fix the Fox” campaign. Maddox had commented of the irony of now having his celebration [in May 2010], celebrating his legacy, at the Fox Theatre, which is now designated as a National Historic Landmark, a Georgia Museum Building, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Atlanta Inquirer family certainly misses its longtime friend, James F. (Jim) Maddox. He is survived by his wife of more than 66 years, Alice, and his four adult children.

Last updated on August 18, 2023

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