Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
George Austin Lott Jr., 76, gained the most important victory of his life when he passed peacefully from his Earthly home into his Heavenly home on Jan. 23, 2020, while surrounded by his loving family.
Visitation is 5 to 8 tonight at Hartman-Jones Funeral Home in McComb. Visitation will resume 1 p.m. Sunday, until services at 2 at Johnston Chapel United Methodist Church, Summit. The Rev. Dwayne Scoggins and the Rev. Bill Poole will officiate. Burial will be in the Johnston Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery.
On Halloween Day (Oct. 31) in 1943, an athletic “monster” was born unto George Austin Lott and Lottie Ruth Lott in McComb. He was named George Austin Lott Jr.
George Jr. had a very good childhood growing up in East McComb, playing with childhood friends such as Lynwood Carr and Joel Smith, and playing baseball. His sister tells many stories about the terrible things he did to her like shooting her with a play bow and arrow as she walked home in the dark, but he also took up for her when someone stole her bike. The bike was placed up high and out of reach. He told the culprits that they better get the bike down or he would be seeing them after school.
At a very early age, George began to demonstrate his natural, God-given, athletic prowess. Throughout Little League ball, he was described as the fastest and strongest player of all. While no specific honors were given at that age, George always made the All-Star teams and played for state championships.
George graduated from McComb High School in 1962. While in high school, he was a three-sport letterman, lettering in track, football and baseball. For years, George held the state record for the 100-yard dash at a time of 9.6 seconds. Teammate/classmate Tom Evans told that George and Tommy Lynch almost single-handedly won the state championship in track their senior year in high school. George won both the 100-yard and the 220-yard dashes while Tommy came in second. George won the shot put and Tommy won the long jump. George and Tommy dominated the relays as well, accumulating enough points in the meet between just the two of them to defeat all other teams.
In football, George received the Most Valuable Back award his senior year. Head Coach Tom Swayze of the Ole Miss Rebels long scouted Lott and went on to sign him to a grant-in-aid scholarship with the University of Mississippi shortly after the end of the 1961 grid-iron season. However, Lott’s collegiate football career ended abruptly, even before it began, because he signed to play professional baseball.
Bob Zuk, top scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates and scouting players in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee, trailed George through two years of high school baseball. Zuk was quoted as saying, “Lott is the finest major league baseball prospect I saw in action among high school players this year (1962).” Zuk went on to say, “This boy has a tremendous baseball potential — in size and power, brilliant speed, throwing arm, fielding ability — in short, in everything necessary.”
Zuk signed Lott for a bonus and salary consideration “higher than the baseball draft limit.” The professional baseball league had enacted a draft rule that limited their team’s bonus payments to budding stars to $8,000 unless the team wished to chance losing the athlete if he could not play major league ball by the following September.
At 6-foot2 and 195 pounds, George began playing professional baseball during the 1963 season and last took the field during the 1972 campaign. While his primary position was outfield, he also played first base, third base, catcher and pitcher. He compiled a career batting average of .277 with 116 home runs and 199 RBI in his 973-game career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers organizations.
George loved nicknaming his friends and relatives — Whiner, Red, Ten-Minute Man and Macaroni were just a few of his favorites.
George enjoyed the outdoors — hunting, playing golf and softball. He made many good friends doing this. One of the most notable memories of his softball days happened at the Exchange Park in Brookhaven when he hit an out-of-the park homerun that went over the Ferris wheel located outside the park in left field.
He spent many hours sitting on the porch or around a campfire with his late brother-in-law, Joe Jackson. They spent many hours arguing over who was the smartest — or better yet, who was not the smartest.
George was a member of Johnston Chapel UMC, having been baptized April 2, 1989, by the Rev. Bill Poole.
Mr. Lott loved his family immensely. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents; his father-in-law, Farrell Woodall; his brother-in-law, James Grammer; his brother-in-law, Ted Woodall; his sister- and brother-in law, Bridgette and Joe Jackson.
Left to cherish many wonderful memories are his wife of 43 years, Yvette Lott; son and daughter-in-law, George Austin Lott III and Shannon; son, Dustin Lott; his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Clyde Paulk; his grandchildren, Casey Paulk, Katie Bell and husband Devon, Alex Lott, and Bailey Lott; great-granddaughter, Brynn Bell; his sister, Linda Grammer; mother-in-law, Mozelle Woodall; sister-in-law, Jeanie Woodall; brother- and sister-in law, Gerald and Yvonne Howell; numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.
Pallbearers will be Clyde Paulk, Casey Paulk, Tyler Howell, Ryan Bullock, Scottie Grammer, Dale Bailey and Stacey McCaskill.
The family kindly requests any memorials be made to Johnston Chapel UMC, 2093 Chapel Drive, Summit, MS 39666.