Former mayor Isaac dies

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2005

While Forkland has always been considered a small town it has always had big needs. Through the years Mayor and model citizen Jim Isaac had kept most of those needs met and then some.

For many Isaac was Forkland. This is hard to argue when you take a look at the many additions to the town that came during his administration.

Unfortunately, on April 21, Isaac’s town bid him a final farewell, but his presence in the Greene County town will always be felt.

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Isaac served as mayor of Forkland for over 21 years and in that time he had an impact on many people.

A letter from Rev. Mitchell Ross Congress probably summed his life best.

“Isaac was A Christian gentleman who believed in being diligent to his service to the Lord,” Congress said. ” He served as deacon, Sunday School Superintendent as well as teacher. He worked in law enforcement as a deputy under legendary Sheriff Thomas Gilmore.”

Isaac’s greatest accomplishment outside of his family and church was his service to the Town of Forkland. Isaac, Gilmore and Judge William Branch among others were actually responsible for incorporating the town.

In 1976 he secured millions of federal dollars to develop a water system that rescued its citizens from polluted well water and the long walks to draw it.

In 1977 he established the first Forkland Police Department, which took a burden off the Greene County Sheriff Department.

In 1979 he organized the volunteer fire department with three well-equipped trucks.

Through an EDA grant he secured $322,000 in 1984 to build the Forkland Town Hall, which is heads and shoulders above most facilities other towns the size of Forkland are able to furnish.

Many rehabilitation projects were also undertaken under his watch to provide citizens with indoor plumbing, naming of streets to honor or remember the work of those dedicated to the advancement of Greene County. A Senior Nutrition Center was also housed in the Forkland Town Hall.

Isaac was a hard worker and tirelessly looked after the people of his community.

Alonzo Thomas, Water Superintendent for Forkland worked side by side with Isaac for around 18 years and said it had been a rewarding experience.

“He was a great guy to work for,” Thomas said. “He was a great mayor and a great man.”

Cynthia Stone, Forkland City Clerk, said she had also benefited greatly from her time with Isaac.

“I enjoyed working with him,” Stone said. “He was everywhere. There wasn’t a department he didn’t take an active role in.”

For many years Isaac operated a store next door to city hall for and was always available when needed.

“Customers of his would call him at 2:30 and 3 a.m. and eh would be there,” Stone said. “If there was a water leak somewhere no matter what time it was, he would be there.”

Isaac also took a very active role in the future and past of Forkland. Stone said he spent many hours working with the youth of his small town as well as the older citizens.

“When we had the school here he was always there doing something with the kids,” Stone said. “He was also very active in the senior citizens program and he even delivered homebound lunches when the need arose.”

Stone said when Isaac left office the town was a completely different place.

“When Jim left office in 2000 we had two police officers,” Stone said. “He was also very instrumental in getting a water system and this building. He got the full grant for the building. He was also very instrumental in forming the fire department.”

The Town of Forkland will miss their ambassador of good will and caretaker. However, they will never forget him because of the many additions and improvements that stand in his memory.