Remembering Abit Massey

The Terry College of Business is remembering the legendary Francis “Abit” Massey (’49 BBA), who passed away Saturday. He was 96.

For more than 75 years, Massey worked to move Georgia toward the future and make Georgians more prosperous. In his early days as head of what is now the Georgia Department of Economic Development, he created the state’s first tourism promotion office and built the initial welcome center.

Known as the “dean of the poultry industry,” he became the executive director of the Georgia Poultry Federation in 1960.

His work helped establish Georgia as a leading chicken producer — turning what was primarily a network of backyard side businesses into a $4.2 billion industry that gave North Georgia farmers a reliable and regular source of income. In 2011, the New Georgia Encyclopedia interviewed him about the change he had seen in North Georgia during his career.

He served with the Georgia Poultry Federation in 2009 but stayed involved as president emeritus. He was a tireless supporter of the University of Georgia, the poultry industry, and the people of North Georgia. He was awarded the UGA President’s Medal, UGA Alumni Merit Award, the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and the inaugural Medallion of Honor for Service to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He served as president of the UGA Alumni Association from 1991 to 1993, was on the board of directors of the Georgia Research Foundation and the UGA Real Estate Foundation and an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation.