Santa F. Deas, 87, of Lake Park, GA, died peacefully on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at his home, surrounded by family. He was born on June 30, 1934, on the family farm in Jennings, Florida to the late Alexander and Jimmie Deas. Santa was the youngest of 13 children. He was raised on the family farm surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and was a member of Burnham Christian Church. Santa started farming from a young age and played high school basketball and “both ways” on the football team before graduating from Jennings High School in the early 1950’s. Santa always proudly stated that he was a distinguished graduate of “Belleville University”, with a degree from the School of Hard Knocks.
He had a love and appreciation of the outdoors. Santa was an avid quail hunter and enjoyed nothing more than riding his pastures checking on his cows. He took many hunting trips, from Central America to the western United States.
Santa married the love of his life, Betty Kate Haskins, and they had three children together. He continued farming through his entire life and was known as “the hardest working man that never worked a day of his life” because of his passion for farming. Santa was also a very successful business owner and real estate developer; he was the owner/operator of Farmer’s Tobacco Warehouse and 13 Hardee’s franchises across South Georgia. He was a member of the Lake Park United Methodist Church, the Elks Lodge and a leader in the community, as the first elected President of the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce.
Santa is survived by his wife, Jean Retterbush Deas; his three children – Gigi Deas of Lake Park, Betsy and husband, CDR (Ret.) Chris Townsend, USN, of Orlando, FL, and Alexander Deas of Jennings, FL; his four grandchildren – Logan and her husband Chris Horne of Santa Rosa Beach, FL, Connor Townsend, Lauren Townsend, and Morgan Kate Townsend; his sister, Geree Smoak of Atlanta; his step-daughters – Cyndy and her husband Billy Dennis of Marietta, and Dawn Miller of Valdosta; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years and mother of his three children, Betty Kate Deas; his parents and eleven of his brothers and sisters.
The funeral service for Mr. Deas will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 12, 2021 at Lake Park United Methodist Church. Rev. Eldridge Lyons and Rev. Larry Hauser will officiate. Interment will follow at Lake Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends at McLane Lakewood Funeral Home in Lake Park, GA on Thursday evening, November 11, 2021 from 5 to 7 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to Hospice of South Georgia (P.O. Box 1727, Valdosta, GA 31603); the American Heart Association (3338L Country Club Rd, PMB 305, Valdosta, GA 31605); or the American Lung Association (www.Action.Lung.org). Condolences may be conveyed to the family on the obituary page of www.mclanecares.com McLane Lakewood Funeral Home