Board of Directors and Officers

Brenda Tackett - President

Brenda has lived in the Semmes Park Neighborhood of East Point with her husband, John, (and various rescue dogs) since December 1987. Brenda is an active volunteer with many organizations. She started volunteering 25 years ago for DragonCon and in 2007, started volunteering with the Georgia Aquarium.

Brenda is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, as well as the Treasurer of the Captain Thomas Cobb Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which meets at the East Point Historical Society Headquarters. Brenda is also involved with the College Park Women’s Club.

Brenda is also President of her family reunion, held each year in Mt. Hood, Oregon. Brenda started volunteering at EPHS January 2018. She is looking forward to retirement so that she has more time to volunteer...seriously!! 

Blair Bonds – Secretary

Blair Bonds, a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, has lived in Semmes Park since 2007.  He is a graduate of Upper Iowa University, Fayette IA, with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration.  Blair spent his career with the United States government.  He served in three agencies - the U. S. Forest Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the General Services Administration.  He retired in 2013, after 34 years’ service, as a Financial Management Analyst in the Public Buildings Service.  

He has previously served on the Board of Trustees at Central Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta, including a year as Chair of the Finance Committee. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ, also as Finance Chair.   

He enjoys reading, gardening, photography and spending time with his rescued greyhound, Addy.  He is also a history buff, especially the history of early motion pictures, and loves wandering around cemeteries.  

Charles Strickland - Treasurer

Charles has had an ongoing tax and accounting practice in East Point for more than thirty years. He serves on several non-profit organizations in the East Point area. Charles served as Director of Accounting Services for Atlanta Christian College for seven years. 

He is a member of East Point Christian Church and have resided on Montrose Drive in the Conley Hills neighborhood for close to forty-five years. His spare time hobby is Genealogy/Family History.

Ken Whitehead - Curator

Ken is an amateur genealogist and self-styled "history nut". He has a BBA degree in accounting from Kennesaw State College. He is married to East Point native and Russell High graduate, Jean Callahan, who is also the sister of our former Board Member, Wylie Callahan. Ken served in the U.S. Navy's Naval Security Group as a Cryptographic Technician in Morocco, North Africa. After the Navy, he worked for over forty years for Firestone/Bridgestone before retiring as the senior internal auditor for north Georgia. Jean and Ken have lived in East Point several times over the years, as well as in seven other states and two foreign countries. They have three children, nine grandchildren and one great grandson.

From the May 1999 EPHS newsletter: "Jean Callahan and Ken Whitehead have researched the Callahan history and have presented a copy to the EPHS.  This also includes some of the Schell family who married into the Callahan family.  Thanks to them for this.  They also have become our newest new members.  Welcome."

Ken recently married Dura Nicholson Riner. Dura and Ken have known each other since 1967.

Charles Barlow - Board Member

Charles is the son of the late Gertrude and Judge Barlow Sr. who were lifelong residents of East Point. He is a product of the public schools of East Point and is a 1970 graduate of Chicago State University. He served in the United States Air Force from 1953 until 1957, was employed by the Atlanta and Fulton County Board of Education for 2 years as well as the Postal Service in Chicago Illinois for 12 years. He retired from the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority after 30 years of service. 

He serves as President of the East Washington Neighborhood Association and sits on the Gus Thornhill Scholarship board. He has served on the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of East Point and is a member of Zion Hill Baptist Church where he serves on the CDC Board of Directors.

Lt. Colonel Perry Bennett - Board Member

Perry is a native of Atlanta Georgia and has a life long interest in the history of Atlanta.  He is a career Army Officer, a graduate of The Citadel, Charleston, SC; BA, Emporia State University; MA, The US Army Command and General Staff College, and a graduate of the US Army Combat Historian Course.  His military awards include the Combat Action Badge, a Bronze Star in 2009 and a British Citation from Basra Iraq in 2009.

His primary field of expertise is the 17-18th Century Colonial and Creek Indian, and Civil War Periods.  He has published a Staff Ride for the US Army Center of Military History, on the ‘’Battle of Utoy Creek and Operations against East Point, GA August 1864’’  He is also in the final stages in publishing a book on the  Battle of Utoy Creek.    

He is a frequent speaker at events for the Atlanta Preservation Center, BATL, Civil War Round Tables, Historical Societies, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Sons of Union Veterans, and other groups as a Military Historian.  He is a long-term member of the Atlanta History Center, and serves as an Adjunct Professor for Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, GA.  He has also served as the President of the Utoy Cemetery Association since 2003, coordinating the maintenance of Atlanta’s oldest Cemetery close in proximity to East Point.

He is focused on erecting a Monument to the Soldiers killed at the Utoy Creek Battlefield only four miles from the East Point Historical Society for the one hundred fiftieth anniversary Aug 6, 2014.

Ex-Officio Board Members

Olen and Ora Jean Gunnin - Ex-Officio Board Members

The Gunnins are a local fixture and have done so much for East Point and the Historical Society that it would be impossible to list it all here. Olen and Ora Jean were both raised in East Point and have seen the city in a way that most of us can only imagine. Olen has always been involved with the community, his most notable credit is his 20 years of service on the East Point City Council. Ora Jean is one of the 3 people instrumental in the establishment of the East Point Historical Society. She was involved in the East Point Woman's Club, Clean Community and served as a board member on the Fulton County Board of Education. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gunnin have served as President of the EPHS and Mrs. Gunnin has served in all executive positions on the board at one time or the other. Their work with the Historical Society has guaranteed that the future citizens of East Point will have the history of East Point available to them.

Walter Griffin - Ex-Officio Board Member

An award-winning poet with more than 400 national and international publications to his credit, His early works were published in numerous small-press quarterlies and journals, and after the 1972 publication of his poetry in Harper's magazine, Griffin's work began to appear in such major publications as The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Kenyon Review, New England Review, New Yorker, Paris Review, The London Magazine, Sewanee Review, and Southern Review. Griffin taught in the "Poetry in the Schools" Program, a national program that gives students the opportunity to work with published poets. 

From 1972 to 1983 he was the visiting writer-in-residence at more than 110 secondary and elementary schools, colleges, and penal institutions in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. His poetry earned him the Author of the Year Award in 1976 from the Southeastern Regional Council of Authors and Journalists and in that same year, his book, "Port Authority" was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 1978 the Georgia Council for the Arts and Humanities named him master poet-in-residence. In 1972 Griffin founded the Atlanta Poets Workshop.

Meg LaFrantz Ex-Officio Board Member

Meg moved to East Point in 2008 after living in Grant Park for over 10 years. She loves older neighborhoods and the community spirit and camaraderie that seems to typically reside in them. Upon moving into their bungalow in Frog Hollow, Meg decided to join the neighborhood association where she served for a year as secretary and produced the monthly neighborhood newsletter. Meg worked at McKinsey & Company for many years as a Research Analyst. She is currently leveraging those skills and collaborating with others to try and achieve historic district designation by the National Historic Register for the Frog Hollow neighborhood.

D. Gordon Draves Ex-Officio Board Member

Gordon is originally from Hemet, California and has a BA in Geography. He has lived in Georgia since 1977. He currently serves as President of Georgians Against Smoking Pollution, Tobacco Chair for Live Healthy DeKalb, Legislative Chair for HEART Coalition (Fulton County), and Chair of the Atlanta Group, Georgia Chapter, Sierra Club. He is also active in the American Association of Retired Persons, Tri-Cities SALT--Seniors and Law enforcement Together, Stand-UP, Southeast Photography Society, Semmes Park Community Organization, and the Hillcrest Cemetery Memorial Association board.