Brewton-Parker receives $100,000 from Resseau estate for student loan fund

By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations

MOUNT VERNON - An estate executor said his aunt was a firm believer in Christian education, and of Baptist-affiliated academics in particular.
Before her death in February 2001, Ruth Harrison Resseau bequeathed $100,000 to Brewton-Parker College for establishing a loan pool for students.
On Jan. 7, Douglas real estate developer Bill Elliott fulfilled his aunt's bequest by presenting a check for the Ruth Harrison Resseau Loan Fund to Brewton-Parker. Jay Orr, vice president for college advancement, accepted the donation on behalf of the college and its president, Dr. David Smith.
Resseau was born and raised in Kite in Johnson County, one of eight children of the late Jim Lewis Harrison and Inez Wheeler Harrison. Elliott said upon Resseau's graduation from the University of Georgia with a degree in home economics, she worked for the government and visited rural areas.
Elliott said Resseau always had a fondness for small-town living, an element that led to her desire to assist such rural-based institutions as Brewton-Parker and the rural areas from which most of its students come.
"Living in a small town, she was a dedicated Baptist and she believed in the Christian education program offered in Georgia," Elliott said. "She felt very strongly about supporting students from rural areas."
Resseau had no children of her own but raised the four children of Tom Resseau, a real estate developer and farmer whom she married and then relocated to Eatonton, about 80 miles northwest of her life-long home.
Elliott said he recalls spending time on the Resseaus' dairy farm in Putnam County and helping round up the dairy cattle from the pasture for milking.
After Tom Resseau's death in the early 1960s, Ruth Resseau decided to purchase a diner in Eatonton she called the Uncle Remus Restaurant, named for the folk character popularized along with Brer Rabbit by author and Georgia native Joel Chandler Harris.
While in her 70s, Resseau sold her rental property, timberland and restaurant and returned to Kite, where she purchased a house which "she was told needed to be burned," Elliott said, but he added that she accepted and completed the dutiful remodeling challenge.
Until her death in 2001, Resseau was an active member of the Kite Baptist Church and the Kite Homemakers Club and was a judge for the Camellia Society of Georgia.
Resseau previously had donated $31,000 to Brewton-Parker, and she was the benefactor for the Harrison Scholarship Fund she founded in 1970 to assist family members' educational needs, and she made donations to Mercer University for its College of Medicine.
"I am delighted to receive this wonderful gift on behalf of Brewton-Parker College and our students," Orr said. "This grand lady has touched so many lives with her caring heart and her generosity. Students for years to come will be able to secure their college educations because of Ruth Resseau."

-30-



Bill Elliott (left), a real estate developer from Douglas, presents a check for establishing the Ruth Harrison Resseau Loan Fund for students at Brewton-Parker College during his Jan. 7 visit to the campus in Mount Vernon. Elliott, the nephew and executor of the estate of the benefactor, presents the check to Jay Orr, Brewton-Parker's vice president for college advancement. Resseau , was born and raised in Kite and also lived in Eatonton.

-30-