Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor a
distinguished public servant, dedicated statesman, mentor, and dear
friend of longstanding, The Honorable Jack T. Brinkley, Sr. Sadly, Jack
passed away on January 23, 2019, at the age of 88. His passing marks
the close of a long and prolific life, and his departure leaves a void
in the hearts of many Georgians. He leaves behind an impeccable legacy
of service that will never be forgotten. A funeral service was held on
Saturday, January 26, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Evangel Temple in Columbus,
Jack Thomas Brinkley, Sr. was born on December 22, 1930, to the union
of the late Lonnie and Stella Brinkley in Faceville, Georgia. A product
of the Decatur County Public School System, he graduated from
Attapulgus High School in 1947 and Young Harris College in 1949 before
working as an educator and basketball coach from 1949 to 1951. In 1951,
he joined the United States Air Force where he served for 5 years as a
combat crew pilot. After honorably serving his country, he obtained his
Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Georgia School of Law,
was admitted to the bar, and became a prominent lawyer with Young,
Hollis, and Mosely and later with Coffin and Brinkley, both in
Columbus, Georgia.
He served in the General Assembly of Georgia for two one-year terms
from 1965 to 1966. While serving as the State Representative for
District 112, he was appointed Chairman of the Local Affairs Committee,
authored legislation to require phenylketonuria (PKU) testing for
newborn infants, and spearheaded the protest against the closure of the
Warm Springs Institute for which he later sponsored funding
In 1966, he was elected to Congress from the 3rd District of Georgia
at age 35, and served for eight terms, retiring from the 97th Congress
in 1983. While serving as the representative for Georgia's Third
Congressional District, Jack authored several key pieces of
legislation. Following the Vietnam War, he was the author of
legislation establishing the Gold Star Wives Charter. He also authored
dual use legislation in Civil Defense during the Carter administration
which authorized, by statute, federal response to natural and wartime
disasters. Jack was also the author of legislation designating
Andersonville as a National Historic Site, which transferred it from
the Department of the Army to the Department of Interior. With the help
of his Co-Chairman, the Honorable Rudy Hayes of Americus, he was able
to place the Georgia Memorial at the site.
During his last Congressional term before retirement, he was Chairman
of the Military Construction Subcommittee, which had jurisdiction over
military acquisitions and disposals, and as such, blocked the transfer
of land at Fort Gillam chosen for the Region IV Veteran's cemetery.
Subsequently, under Jack's leadership, the Fort Mitchell VA cemetery
was approved by the Reagan Administration.
During the last terms of his service in Congress, there was intense
competition for the location of an army plan for One Station Unit
Training (OSUT), where basic infantry training was to be combined with
advanced infantry training to reduce costs. Endorsements from the New
England Mid-West Coalition for Fort Drum in New York and Senator Strom
Thurmond for Fort Jackson in South Carolina initially blocked the
Army's choice of Fort Benning. However, Jack's move to Chairman of the
Military Construction Subcommittee led to the authorization of the
reception station at Sand Hill at Fort Benning. Jack was also pivotal
in establishing Interstate 185 connecting Interstate 85 to Columbus,
Georgia. As a Congressman, Jack placed a huge emphasis on constituent
service and attendance, as he was known for passionately advocating for
citizens facing the heavy hand of bureaucracy and rarely missed a vote
or quorum call.
He was a CIVITAN, a Master Mason, and an attorney for 50 years, but
he was a Christian for all of his life. He was baptized when he was
almost ten years old at Betts' Mill Pond and he practiced the
requirements of Micah to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with
thy God. He faithfully took his family to Edgewood Baptist Church and
taught Sunday School there for many years, before joining Evangel
Temple, where he served until his passing.
Jack was more than a legislator, he was a servant to all humankind.
He gave of himself to countless causes and organizations. Dr. Maya
Angelou once said that ``I've learned that you shouldn't go through
life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw
something back.'' Jack threw a prodigious amount of love and service
back to the state and nation he loved so dearly.
Jack achieved much in his life but none of it would have been
possible without the love and support of his loving family. While he
was preceded in death by his late and dearly beloved wife, Lois Kite
Brinkley, and his son, Jack, Jr.; his legacy lives on through his
dearly beloved wife, Sally; his son, Fred; and a host of family and
friends who will miss him deeply.
On a personal note, Jack Brinkley was a mentor to me. But more
importantly, he was indeed a role model for my career in public
service. From his strong example of constituent service, to his
eloquent use of poems and appropriate quotations in his oral and
written presentations. Jack Brinkley has been the model I have sought
to emulate. He held fast to his promise to ``remember who I am, where
I'm from, and who sent me.'' The world and human kind are better
because Jack passed this way.
Jack was truly a great representative for Southwest Georgia and a
stellar example of how a public servant should serve his constituents.
His friendship, leadership, and counsel will be sorely missed.
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join my wife, Vivian, and me,
along with thousands in the Chattahoochee Valley and across America in
paying tribute to former Georgia Congressman Jack T. Brinkley, Sr. for
a life well lived and in extending our deepest sympathies to his
family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time of
bereavement. Moreover, we pray that they will be consoled and comforted
by an abiding faith and the Holy Spirit in the days, weeks, and months
116th Congress