Hitchcox Leaving Behind Legacy, Services Announced

“Robert Hitchcox (Santa Claus) would attend gatherings of all sizes, public and private, to share the Christmas season all across Northwest Georgia. Hitchcox passed away Tuesday night. He was 64.”
“Robert Hitchcox (Santa Claus) would attend gatherings of all sizes, public and private, to share the Christmas season all across Northwest Georgia. Hitchcox passed away Tuesday night. He was 64.”

(Walker County, Georgia) – Born and bred in the South, Robert Hitchcox lived by example in helping his neighbors. And now, after losing a two-month battle with a deadly illness Tuesday night, Hitchcox will be leaving a void. One that may be too big for any one person to fill.

The long-time Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) board member’s name will now sit atop the newest scholarship at the Northwest Georgia-based institution. Donations are already being accepted for the Robert Hitchcox Memorial Scholarship. With his wife of 43 years, Diane, by his side, Hitchcox passed away this week after spending eight weeks in Chattanooga’s Memorial Hospital.

GNTC Director of Institutional Advancement Jason Gamel, who helps head the GNTC Foundation Board of Directors, wasted no time putting focus on a gift that would truly capture the man. With his nearly 20 years of service on the college’s foundation board of trustees, as well as the college’s board of directors, a scholarship was almost a given for Hitchcox.

Among its duties, the GNTC Foundation helps provide students with needed supplies, programs with needed equipment, and high school seniors with needed scholarships. Robert helped bring in the support and funding for these ventures every year.

“He was truly an institution,” said Gamel in a Wednesday morning interview. “The love and time he gave to this entire region is an amazing example for the future. How he lived was very selfless. We want his name to continue to be connected with that spirit of giving.” With more than forty years with the Chattanooga (TN) Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Hitchcox made his job center on the success of this area he called home almost his entire life.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Robert’s family moved to Northwest Georgia when he was three years old. A graduate of Chattanooga Valley High School in 1969, Hitchcox would later graduate from Chattanooga’s McKenzie College. In his Business Development Manager slot at Coca-Cola, Hitchcox would reach out and serve his community in numerous ways over the decades.

Hitchcox, 64, would serve in Board of Director roles with Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Foundation, Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, Walker County Chamber of Commerce, Hutcheson Medical Center Foundation, and the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

Among the awards Hitchcox earned over the years were the Catoosa County Citizen of the Year (1994), Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year (2001), and the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year (2007). Hitchcox was a fan of the Atlanta Braves, NASCAR, and golf. Hitchcox lived every day in the words of one bible verse. Romans 8:28 which reads, “For we know that all things work together for good, for them that love God, for them who are the called, according to his purpose.” Hitchcox had been a member of Battlefield Parkway Church of the Nazarene in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia for more than 21 years.

With more than five decades of professional experience in this region, Hitchcox became a bit of a staple in the business world of the Tennessee Valley and Northwest Georgia. However, the one thing that most will remember him for wasn’t his business prowess. It was his passion for the Christmas season.

“I start growing my beard for my role as Santa early each year,” said Hitchcox in a former interview. “People get a true joy during the Christmas season and I simply enjoy playing a part in all of that.” Although he would admit from time-to-time during the heat of the southern summers that his North Pole-esque beard could get a bit uncomfortable in the stifling heat, every year, Hitchcox would grow in his beard once again to give those who believe in Christmas the real deal every time.

Robert and his wife, Diane, were married for 43 years. Beyond his wife and extended family, Hitchcox is survived by his sons, Bryan Hitchcox of Chickamauga, Georgia and Jeremy Hitchcox of Rossville, Georgia, and his grandchildren, Dylan and Olivia Hitchcox.

Visitation for Hitchcox will be held Thursday and Friday from 4 – 8 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Funeral services will be held at 1 PM, Saturday, at Battlefield Parkway Church of the Nazarene in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Hitchcox will be laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Monday at 2 p.m.

If you would like to give to the Robert Hitchcox Memorial Scholarship, send your donations to the GNTC Foundation, Attn: Jason Gamel/Connie Potts, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, Georgia, 30739.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties.