May 18, 1942 - Dec. 6, 2021
Kenneth Nelson “Sam” Roper, age 79, of Athens, GA, formerly of Greensboro, GA, passed away on Monday, December 6, 2021 at his residence after a long battle with prostate cancer surrounded by his beloved family.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 1:00pm at The First United Methodist Church, 202 W. Broad Street, Greensboro, GA North Campus with the Rev. Farrett Boswell officiating.
Born on May 18, 1942 in Atlanta, GA, Sam was the second child of three sons born to the late Allen Page Roper and Marian Hutcherson Roper. In 1943 the Ropers moved to Greensboro where Sam graduated from Greensboro High School. He furthered his education at ABAC in Tifton, GA and the University of Georgia where he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. He graduated from UGA with a degree in Business Administration in 1965. It was UGA where he met the love of his life, Elizabeth Alexandra “Zandra” “Zaza” MacDonell and the rest is history. Exactly one year from the day of their first date, they were married on May 8, 1965, in St. Marys, GA. For the next fifty-six years, Sam and Zandra were partners in family and business.
Sam loved Greene County and grew up in Greensboro. He was a good shot at birds, pool and marbles and a low shooter at golf. He set the Greene County Country Club course record with a 69 in its early years. It was said he had a swing like Sam Snead and could have played on tour if only he could putt! He was an avid golfer and was one of the first members of Reynolds Plantation, Port Armor and Harbor Club.
Sam went into real estate and eventually opened Richland Real Estate Company and Lake Oconee, Inc. as its broker. He was an early and huge proponent of Lake Oconee, developing and selling lots on the lake before it had water. The Beaverdam Subdivision, his first development, was the sight of an annual Chicken Barbecue and party for demonstrating “Lake Life” before it even had a name. It was when developing The West Place that Sam accidentally made his most permanent contribution to the Lake Oconee community in the form of the “Sandbar”.
He was trying to get long water views for the West Place lake lots, so with Georgia Power’s permission, he shaved down a long skinny sliver of non-buildable land and in the process created a permanent oasis for thirsty boaters. Sam’s last love, the Richland Subdivision with paved roads, tennis courts and a guardhouse (with no guard!) was a hint of the big future that was in store for Greene County.
These three lake developments were labors of love, and the early lake owners became his dear friends. Sam was a faithful member for years of the First United Methodist Church of Greensboro. Sam’s greatest achievement of all was the rearing of his four children. He could be seen teaching and pulling them skiing on Lake Oconee, riding on the pontoon boat or teaching them to sail on the Rainbow Hobie Cat. He was also known for having made the “Best Lunches” a kid could have when lunchtime came at school. Friends would offer to buy “Sam’s hamburgers” from the Ropers at lunch.
Weekend nights at the Roper’s home could be found grilling steaks, chicken or hamburgers for his children and any friends that happened by and there were always plenty of guests. Sam also invested heavily in “education and weddings”. He especially delighted in the happy weddings of his four children and then each birth of his thirteen grandchildren brought him great joy and fun.
He never tired of riding one on the tractor, fishing or driving “Ole Blue” or “Ole Brown”. Sam Roper was a good man, a loving and devoted husband and father and a loyal and honest friend. He will be so missed by everyone who knew and loved him. May he rest in peace in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Bobby Roper, sister-in-law, Sally Roper and a twin daughter Alexandra Roper.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Zandra Roper of Athens, GA; son, John Roper of Athens, GA and his children, Annie Roper, Jake Roper and GiGi Roper of Marietta, GA; daughters, Shannon Rogers and her husband Marsh and their children Marshall Rogers, Lizzie Rogers and Trudy Rogers of Spartanburg, SC; Claire Bush and her husband Palmer and their four sons, Palmer Bush, Sam Bush, Ben Bush and Baylor Bush of Athens, GA; Susannah Chastain and her husband Chas and their children Amelia Chastain, Ricky Chastain and Brooks Chastain; brother, David Roper and his wife Jana Roper of Greensboro, GA.
Any memorials may be made to Nathanael Greene Academy, PO Box 109, Siloam, GA 30665 or Oconee Regional Humane Society, 1020 Park Avenue, Suite 101, Greensboro, GA 30642 or First United Methodist Church, 202 W. Broad Street, Greensboro, GA 30642. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online guest register.