Cover photo for Lt. Colonel Bea Combs's Obituary
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Lt. Colonel Bea Combs

August 27, 1926 — April 21, 2024

Lake Park, GA

Lt. Colonel Bea Combs

August 27, 1926 - April 21, 2024

After 45 years of active service in The Salvation Army, Lt. Colonel Beatrice Combs retired and served the Lord faithfully until the Lord called her to her eternal home, April 21, 2024. During her years of active service her devotion to the service of others began early in life.  Nurtured by a devout Christian family, influenced by Methodist, Baptist, and United Brethren teaching, she gave her heart to God at the age of six, and committed her life to His leading at the age of twelve.  In her early teens, she became aware of The Salvation Army, and before her 19th birthday in 1945, she was commissioned from the officers' training college in Atlanta as part of the "Fearless" session. During her time as corps assistant in Paducah and Louisville, Kentucky, and as youth officer in Johnson City, Tennessee, Lt. Combs encouraged her people to be, do and look their very best because Jesus and the Army deserve no less.  In 1949, at her request, she was transferred to women's social work.  After three years as bookkeeper and activities director at Birmingham, Alabama Home and Hospital, Captain Combs was given an education appointment for nurse training at Georgia Baptist Hospital.  Following graduation, she served as a registered nurse at Louisville, Kentucky and Richmond, Virginia Homes and Hospitals. In 1963, after six years as superintendent in Richmond, Major Combs was appointed Women's Social Service Secretary for the South.  Administratively responsible for seven maternity homes and hospitals and a large day care center, and consultant for other social services for women and children, Brigadier Combs focused on upgrading quality, effectiveness, and image. Following the closing of the Women's Social Service Department in each of the four US territories, Lt. Colonel Combs was given an education appointment to obtain a master's degree in social work at the University of Georgia.   She was then appointed Social Services Secretary for the South.  In the following four years, organization, staff development, rehousing, quality assurance, and government contracts again consumed her energies as she encouraged balance between the Army's Christian, social and ethical responsibilities and its legal and financial risks. In March 1983, soon after the country discovered it was in recession, Lt. Colonel Combs was appointed to Social Services.  She spent the past eight years mobilizing, encouraging, and enabling personnel as the Army increased its volume of services and doubled its staff. Lt. Colonel Combs also served as the Army's representative to the Protestant Health and Human Services Assembly, National Interfaith Coalition of Aging, National Council on Aging, Council on Social Work Education, National Assembly task forces, Robert Wood Foundation, U.N. Committee on Aging and Church World Service. She served at NHQ staff representative to The Salvation Army national social services commission, NCOA SA sessions, and NAB drug committee. Lt. Colonel Combs retired as National Consultant in Social Services. She still stayed very active even after retirement. She has left a legacy in the Social Service area and fondly remembered by many many people.

Lt. Colonel Combs is survived by her sister Christine Elkins, of Ohio; niece Cherre Terry (Richard), of Lake Park, Georgia; nephews, Glenn Gilbert (Jan), Bobby Gilbert (Angie), and Billy Gilbert (Virginia) all of Ohio; great nieces, Brenda Ames (Chris), of Cumming, Georgia, Crystal Royals (Tim), Lake Park, Georgia, Jessica Worth (Justin), of Crestview, Florida, Courtney Griffin (John), of Ohio, Alicia Gilbert, of Ohio, Heather Gilbert, Hannah Gilbert Smith, Abbey Gilbert; great nephews, Travis Gilbert, Scott Gilbert, Tyler Gilbert, Ben Gilbert, Joseph Gilbert, Jacob Gilbert, and Luke Gilbert all of Ohio; and numerous great great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert Bryan Combs and Hazel Beatrice Tyra Combs, sister Doris Stubblefield McClellan (Herbert) (Rodney), nephew Ronnie Gilbert (Pam), brother-in-law, Don Elkins, and great nephew Brandon Gilbert.

Celebration of Life will be held at 3pm on Friday, April 26, 2024 at the Carson McLane Funeral Home chapel, 2215 N. Patterson St. Valdosta, GA, 31602, with Major Ed Lee officiating. Burial will follow at McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be prior to the service from 2-3pm. Condolences to the family may be conveyed at www.mclanecares.com.

Carson McLane Funeral Home

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Visitation

Friday, April 26, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, April 26, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Interment

Friday, April 26, 2024

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McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens

3945 N. Valdosta Road
Valdosta, GA 31602

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