James T. McRaney, Sr.

James T. McRaney, Sr.,  Ed.D., age 81, of Atlanta, Georgia, formerly of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at Emory Decatur Hospital after numerous health issues.

Dr. McRaney was born on April 13, 1940 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to James Howard McRaney and Thyrza Maude Gardner McRaney.  He started school in California during his fatherís service in WWII.  He later graduated from Hattiesburg High School in 1957 where he was immersed in chorus, band, and theatre arts.  He continued his musical education and earned two music Bachelorís degrees from Mississippi College, a Master of Arts degree from George Peabody College for Teachers (now the College of Education, Vanderbilt University), and the Doctor of Education from the University of Georgia.

For 37 years Dr. McRaney taught music education in public schools and colleges in Georgia and was named Georgiaís 1983 Teacher of the Year.  He also served as Director of Music in Atlanta area churches for 40 years, founded and directed Chorale II, a community chorus, for 11 years and conducted 13 international concert tours for Georgia students and church choir members.

Dr. McRaney served as President of the Georgia Music Educators Association; President of the Southern Division of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC); and served on the National Executive Board of MENC.  Dr. McRaney made significant contributions to music education in Georgia and nationwide.

Dr. McRaney was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, teacher and friend.  He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Willie Ruth Blailock McRaney; daughter, Laura McRaney of Rome, GA; son and daughter-in-law, Jay McRaney and his wife, Kim, and two children, Alex and Erin, all of Canton, GA; son, Jeff McRaney of Orlando, FL and three children, Zoe, Gideon, and Connor; numerous cousins; and a host of former students and dear friends.

A Graveside Service will be held on Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 11:30 A.M. at Greenís Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, 711 Old Richton Rd., Petal, MS 39465 (601-582-2450).  The family will receive friends from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at the Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home, 205 Bay St., Hattiesburg,