Sansom, 62, was a general partner in Croley Funeral Homes, Inc. for 33 years (1974-2007), which included four funeral homes in area cities (including Croley Funeral Home and Grubbs-Loyd Funeral Home in Gilmer) when he left. He had served on the housing authority board, which is appointed by Gilmer Mayor R.D. (Buck) Cross, for several years and had served as its chairman.
The board named him to the executive directorship in October.
The Housing Authority owns the Gates Apartments, and supervises the Ervin Hill and Sorrells Park areas, which are public housing projects subsdized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Board members include Chairman John McWhorter, Vice President Anderson King, Steve Stewart and tenant member Nadine Bell. Johnny Mathis will soon replace Sansom on the board.
Sansom said Friday that Finney approached him about taking the post. “I wasn’t even thinking about it,” the longtime funeral home partner said.
Finney said Friday that “At (age) 81, I got a little tired.” He said he told Sansom, who was board chairman, that he was considering retirement and that he asked Sansom, “Would you be interested in this job?”
He said Sansom told him to let him think about it, and eventually agreed to accept it. Sansom said he has been working in the office (in the Sorrells Park project in west Gilmer) since November, “interning, I guess you’d call it, under his (Finney’s) guidance.”
Retiring with Finney is his wife, Betty, who had worked as a secretary-clerk for the authority the past 15 years.
Gordon Finney is well-known for his 43 years as co-owner of Foster’s Shoes, which was on the downtown Gilmer square’s south side, where Daphne Grimes’ CPA office is now located. That period included part of his time with the Housing Authority.
Finney noted that “quite a lot of changes took place” in his tenure, including the transition from handwritten and typed documents to computers. “It’s been a good run,” he said of the job he assumed Jan. 1, 1988.
As for his future plans, he quipped, “I’m deep into ‘honey, do’ right now. Well, when I get all that done, I’ll look around.”