County Democrats mourn loss of Joseph Prince
by Jason Lowrey
Jan 16, 2014 | 2195 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Family, friends and fellow Democrats are still coming to terms with the passing of Bartow County Democrat Party Chair Joseph Prince. Prince, who became chair in 2004, was noted for his enthusiasm and commitment to the Democratic cause, said attorney Lester Tate.

“Joe was always a fighter, you know. ... Joe was a warrior. He was set to advance the cause. I think the thing that I would remember most about Joe, I can’t remember any candidate for a major office that would come to town that Joe wouldn’t go out and just go door to door with him,” Tate said. “Of course door-to-door campaigning, that’s really in the trenches work that you have to do. So Joe was always trying to get folks going door to door with him. He went door to door, I remember, like with Rick Crawford when he ran for Congress and various other folks.”

Prince passed away Monday, and a cause has not been announced. A memorial service is planned for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 3734 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Atlanta. For the full obituary, see page 2A.

Beryl Wallen, a longtime Democrat, said she’s still in shock from Prince’s death, adding that no one knew he was ill.

“You can quote me when I say that Joe was a special friend, and my heart is broken at his loss as [are] all the other Democrats who honored him,” she said. “... He kept us all together.”

Tate also credited Prince with organizing the county Democrats.

“Joe would send us emails ... he’d often send them in the middle of the night so you’d get up in the morning and have an email from Joe Prince about some event, some candidate that was coming to town, some dinner that he wanted you to go to,” Tate said. “So I think the overall thing that I remember about Joe is just his absolute zeal for advancing the Democratic message. ... You tend to get in political parties, you tend to get people who are more — they’re not legislators. They’re wanting to win elections at the ballot box. They’re not trying to enact legislation or anything like that.

“So Joe really fit that role particularly well and was able to go out and really just put blood and sweat and tears behind any candidate who would stand under the Democratic banner and I will always admire him for that.”

In an August 2013 interview with The Daily Tribune News, Prince said he thought politics and decisions at the county level were working well.

“We’ve got plenty of persistent problems in our nation, but overall, I’ve always been impressed with how well our local government manages to get along,” Prince wrote. “It’s as the great football coach Vince Lombardi once put it: ‘blocking and tackling.’ Take care of the basics, water, sewers, garbage disposal, electric supply, police and fire protection and functional courts and much of the rest is gravy.

“Sure, economic development is vital too, and some will have cause to disagree about certain particulars and decisions there. But for our county administration, we’ve been pretty fortunate overall, despite having an anachronistic single-commissioner system. I firmly believe that locally we’d benefit by having more Democrats down in the state Legislature though.”

In the interview, Prince said he was “right where I want to be presently” by working as chair of the county Democratic Party. He believed his greatest achievements were being happily married for approximately 25 years and meeting and working with Nobel Prize winner R.W. Fogel as part of his PhD. work in economic history.

“Being known locally for whatever generosity, kindness, sagacity, wisdom or humor people might recall about myself or my works,” he continued. “And for helping stop a dump from being sited in Emerson some years back with the easily understandable motto of ‘You ought not put your outhouse on top of your water supply/well.’”

Tate, who served as chair before Prince, said Prince’s abilities to organize the local party by setting scheduled meetings and backing local candidates set him apart.

“One of the things Joe tried to do every single time we had an election was to make sure we had a Democratic candidate in various different races — that [there] was competition out there for those races, and he’s just a guy that’s really going to be missed by a lot of us. I was shocked by his death. I learned about it just the other day. Just a really nice guy that I know we’re all going to miss,” Tate said.

Though Prince was the chair of the minority party in Bartow County, Tate believed it never discouraged him.

“He was never deterred by the fact that — there are a lot of people in Joe’s situation — you’re the county party chair in a small town and the county has become predominantly Republican over the last few years,” Tate said. “And you may think we’ll all go out ... and knock on some doors and we’re not going to change a lot of minds. But Joe would stand there, he’d talk to one person for however long it took to try to persuade them to change their mind. That’s just how committed he was.

“... Joe’s attitude was that if the Democrats aren’t winning elections, it’s just because I’m not working hard enough and I’m going to work harder to make it happen. That kind of enthusiasm, that’s not found very often in either political party.”