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A capitol day for beloved historian

FIve months after his death, Ted Key honored by Georgia House

— “Mister Historical Jonesboro” was honored on the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives this week.

On Tuesday, State Rep. Mike Glanton introduced House Resolution 304, which commemorates the life of local historian Ted Key, who died of a heart attack last September.

In the resolution, Glanton called Key “a cornerstone in Clayton County” who was “beloved by all citizens.” The state representative said a group of citizens from the county approached him with a request for the resolution.

“Ted Key’s life was devoted to teaching people about our history and it’s only appropriate that we do this to tell the story of Ted Key,” Glanton said.

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File photo

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Curt Yeomans

Glanton plans to present a copy of the resolution to Key’s family today during the Clayton County African-American Heritage Day celebration at the Morrow-based National Archives at Atlanta, 5780 Jonesboro Road.

The event, running from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., is co-sponsored by Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc., the African-American History Committee and the National Archives.

The decision to recognize Key at the event is fitting since he helped create Clayton County African-American Heritage Day three years ago. He also founded Historical Jonesboro’s annual Native American Heritage Day in 1983, when he was a teacher in Clayton County Public Schools.

Key was used as a consultant during the restoration of the 1895 Historic Clayton County Courthouse in the early 2000s and served as a longtime volunteer and docent at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro.

Every Christmas, he played “Father Christmas” at Historical Jonesboro’s annual Christmas program.

His involvement with Historical Jonesboro and Stately Oaks led the historical society’s president, Barbara Emert, to call him “Mr. Historical Jonesboro” at the time of his death.

“He was the backbone of this organization, and he was absolutely dedicated to our core mission,” Emert told Clayton News Daily at the time. “He was dedicated to preserving relics from our history, and he had this passion to make sure our history was not forgotten.”

At his funeral, friends and loved ones said they felt Key would continue to live on through the people he touched and the stories they had to share about him.

Those sentiments were reiterated in this week’s house resolution.

“Ted Key will long be remembered for his love of family and friendship, and this loving husband, father, and historian will be missed by all who had the great fortune of knowing him,” the resolution states.