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Longtime Forsyth County GOP member found dead in car in Lake Lanier near Cumming
Officials: Foul play not suspected
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For the FCN - photo by For the Forsyth County News

CUMMING — A longtime member of the Forsyth County Republican Party was found dead Saturday inside her car that was submerged in Lake Lanier, officials said.

The cause of death for Reva Jennings, 77, of Cumming is likely drowning after units from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department dive team recovered her vehicle from the water off Tidwell Park east of Cumming.

According to Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers, foul play is not suspected. Early evidence suggests Jennings may have driven into the water due to heavy fog in the area.

According to Sheriff’s Cpl. Robin Regan, the silver Toyota Camry was observed by a passer-by just before 11 a.m. and was “completely underwater at the end of the boat ramp.”

Officials believe the incident occurred after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Regan said.

According to Jennings's social media accounts, she had attended a Forsyth County GOP Christmas party Friday night.

Pilgrim Mill Road ends in the boat ramp to the lake at Tidwell Park.

Regan said she was the only occupant and registered owner of the vehicle.

The park, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was closed Saturday while authorities examined the scene. The case remains under investigation.

According to her obituary, Jennings turned 77 on Dec. 8. She was a graduate of the University of North Carolina and a former Republican Woman of the Year.

She also was a “proud member of the Forsyth County chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and former president of the Cumming Garden Club and a member of the 400 North Board of Realtors.”

“More than any of her accomplishments,” the obituary read, “Mrs. Jennings considered her love and devotion to her family to be her greatest of all.”

Jennings was president of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women in 1987-88 and was a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, according to her social media accounts and the group’s website.

In a statement, local GOP chairman Jason Mock said highlights of Jennings’s time with the group included serving as party chair and as a member of the state committee from District 7.

“Reva Jennings will be dearly missed. She had an infectious smile and a positive attitude that would provide levity during some very long meetings and political debates,” he said.

“More importantly, Reva was an effective member of the Forsyth County Republican Party, where she served as the backbone of our grass-roots campaign. She helped to build our party and to defend our values when they have come under attack.”

Jennings ran for the state House of Representatives in 1984, according to Mock.

“We all will remember Reva fondly for her tireless work and commitment to promote Republican values in Forsyth County and across this state volunteering countless hours to elect Republicans to office,” Mock said. “Reva’s friends will remember her as someone who was anxious to help a friend or family member in need and always with a smile on her face.”

Jennings was preceded in death by her husband, Bruce Jennings. Immediate survivors include: three children, Bruce Jennings III, Brent Sanford (Carrie) Jennings and Reva Rae Jennings; and two grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday in the chapel of Ingram Funeral Home, with Roger Williams officiating. Interment will follow at Sawnee View Gardens.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

 

Online editor Jim Dean contributed to this report.