Irvin Thomas Terrell, or I. T. as he was more affectionately known, was born April 18, 1924, in Carroll County, Georgia. The son of a share cropper, he was only afforded an 8th grade education but never acted as if life short-changed him. He loved and raised four children with the blood, sweat and tears it takes to succeed when you work in the construction industry. He was married to Lodemia Smith Terrell for 66 years. John Adams said of his father, "In wisdom, piety, benevolence and charity in proportion to his education and sphere of life, I have never known his superior". That is the epitome of Mr. Terrell.
He loved and served his God, his country, his family, and his fellow man. He joined Tallapoosa Primitive Baptist Church in 1959 and was ordained as a deacon in 1979. He entered the United States Army February 3, 1945 and served until November 24, 1946. Some of his other loves were fishing, gardening, baseball, and country music.
I. T. volunteered his time and service to many organizations in the City of Austell including being active with the Lions Club for about 50 years, serving on the Planning and Zoning Board, and coaching little league baseball. In the summertime he never went anywhere without taking some vegetables from his garden to give away.
He was a facilitator who made things available to people to help them reach their goals, always willing to extend a helping hand to anyone in need. He was the go-to guy for many friends and relatives and respected anyone who respected themselves. He was a humble man who stood for things like honesty, integrity, and morality. He was a simple man in an age when everyone tries to overload their lives. He never had a credit card. Never saw the need for one. It takes wisdom to stay focused on what matters in your life.
His grandson, Adam Tilley, wrote a poem after his death called "Papaw's Hands". In almost every picture of Mr. Terrell he has something in his hands. You can tell a lot about a person by what they do with their hands. He was photographed holding things like a prized fish, a spatula while working at the Lions Club steak dinner, various musical instruments, a grandchild, his wife's arm, or his Bible.
He built his home on Windy Lane in 1956 and lived there until the flood in September 2009. The area the city is now turning into the Community Garden, is the same land he and his wife, Lodemia, planted every year.