By Johnny Jackson
For Stockbridge resident, Robert Lee Lemon, gardening was more than a past time. It was somewhat of a passion for the 69-year-old, according to his son Anthony Lemon.
Robert Lemon died recently doing just what he had enjoyed doing over the years.
On Wednesday, he was found lying unconscious outside his Stockbridge home, located on Speer Road.
Lemon was a bus driver for the Henry County School System. He drove two routes for Red Oak Elementary School and Dutchtown High School up until Wednesday afternoon, when he missed one of his routes - which would have completed his third full day of the new school year.
"Another bus driver was sent to Mr. Lemon's residence to see why he did not arrive to pick up students at a Henry County school," said Capt. Jason Bolton, of the Henry County Police Department. "Upon his arrival, he discovered the body and notified Henry County Police, who then responded to Mr. Lemon's residence."
There, officers found Lemon dead outside his home.
Lemon had been driving a school bus route for a handful of years with the Henry County School System, following his retirement from truck driving, according to his son, Anthony. "He was a truck-driver, that was his trade," he said. "And, as he got older, he began driving the school bus."
Anthony said his father began driving buses a few years ago, a pursuit that combined two of his favorite things -- driving and children. "He loved gardening, too," he added. "He had everything. He grew corn, beans, squash, cucumbers, and turnip greens ... When he goes to the garden, he always carries a gun for snakes."
Lemon said he believes that his father accidentally shot himself on Wednesday morning after working some time in his garden.
Said Capt. Bolton: "The investigation into the death revealed Mr. Lemon had been working in his garden, and was fatally wounded when the shotgun he was carrying was accidentally discharged."
Lemon is a native of Henry County. He is survived by two sons, Anthony, and Robert, Jr.; a daughter-in-law, Joe Ann; a brother, Isaac; and a host of nieces and nephews.
"He will be truly missed by us and all of his peers and colleagues," said Beverly Skipper, transportation director for the Henry County School System. "He was an outstanding employee. He was always on time and a pleasure to be around to the kids and his co-workers."
Funeral services will be handled by W. D. Lemon & Sons Funeral Home. Lemon's funeral has been scheduled for noon on Monday at Red Oak United Methodist Church, located at 3894 Walt Stephens Road in Stockbridge.
Condolences may be sent to W.D. Lemon & Sons Funeral Home, located at 300 Griffin Street in McDonough. The phone number is: (770) 957-4337.