Mr. James Andrew “Rooney” Kea, age 74, of Cedar Crossing, died Thursday, January 9, 2020 at his home. He was born in Vidalia and spent most of his life in Cedar Crossing. He was a 1964 graduate of Vidalia High School. After joining the Merchant Marines, and working in the automobile industry for a few years, God led Rooney to become the automotive instructor at Vidalia High School’s Vocational Department. He was recognized as one of the Georgia Vocational Teachers of the Year in 1975-1976 and in 1978-1979, and he won Vidalia High School’s Teacher of the Year. “Mr. Kea”, as so many of his students called him, left an important mark on many of his students’ lives and careers in his almost 30-year calling as an automotive teacher. Rooney was also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and was past commander of the General Robert A. Toombs Camp and of the Montgomery Sharpshooters. He was also named the 1999 Georgia Confederate of the Year for his leadership as the South Central Brigade Commander. His promotion of the history of the “War Between the States”, became one of his biggest passions. His travels include from Fort Sumter to Appomattox Court House. When he was not teaching or talking about Southern history, you would find Rooney with a fishing pole in his hand. His love of fishing took him to Lake Oconee. Whether he was fishing in the daytime at the “Vanilla Wafer Hole” or night fishing, he managed to catch most of the White Perch from Lake Oconee and held many fish fries for family and friends. He was a member at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Vidalia and the Fellowship Sunday School Class. He had a heart for Christ and reading his Bible. He was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Conethea Kea, a brother Russell Kea, and a sister, Linda Kea.
Mr. Kea is survived by his loving wife and best friend of fifty years, Shelby Kea, of Cedar Crossing; his two daughters Jennifer Kea of Richmond Hill and Anna Wright and husband Daniel, of Cedar Crossing; and his grandson Trevor Wright of the South Thompson Community.
The funeral service will be held Sunday, January 12th, at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel of Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home with Reverend Doyle Waller and Reverend Ronnie McKenzie officiating. Burial will follow in the Pinecrest Cemetery.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday afternoon from 1:00 until just prior to the service.
Plenty of flowers are welcome, but if you prefer, memorial contributions may be made to the Tabernacle Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 160, Vidalia, GA 30475.
To send flowers to Rooney's family, please visit our floral section.