Jamie Sibold, 57: Former DeKalb GOP chairman

At the tender age of 11, Jamie Sibold knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up.

The story goes, according to Sibold’s wife Karen, that the preteen was at a political rally with his parents, and had a chance to meet New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

“As he obtained Bobby Kennedy’s autograph, he said, ‘I want to grow up to be just like you,’” his wife said. “This meeting starting a lifelong interest in politics.”

Though Sibold was a devoted Republican, he did fulfill his desire to get into politics. As a member of the DeKalb County GOP he not only put time and energy into helping others get elected, he also ran to represent Dunwoody at the statehouse in 1998 and 2010. His work in the party included serving as chairman in DeKalb 2007 to 2009, said Frank Auman, also a former DeKalb GOP chairman.

“That’s a pretty tough job in a county that votes 80 percent Democrat,” Auman said. “But Jamie never backed down from it.

James Scott Sibold of Dunwoody died Sunday, from complications of brain cancer. He was 57.

A funeral mass is planned for 10:30 a.m., Friday at All Saints Catholic Church, Dunwoody. The family will have a private burial at Green Lawn Cemetery, Roswell. Roswell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

The University of Georgia law school is what brought Sibold, a native of San Mateo, Calif., to the Peach State. After graduation he opened a practice in Dunwoody, where he specialized in real estate transactions, his wife said. But he wasn’t afraid to flex his legal muscle beyond a land deal. In 1999, Sibold help challenge the legality of the busing practices of DeKalb County schools. He was also an advocate of charter schools and helped write the charter at Kingsley Elementary Charter School, his wife said.

“He worked very hard in the area of schools,” Karen Sibold said, of her husband. “He believed in neighborhood schools, and that they be quality schools.”

Sibold’s political activism was not confined to DeKalb County. In 2008 he traveled to New Hampshire and ran a phone bank in support of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s then-presidential campaign.

Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, who twice defeated Sibold for state representative, said there was only one thing Sibold loved more than politics: Family.

“It was clear his family was his first love,” Millar said. “But he was very excited about politics. He truly loved the election cycle, and that came through.”

Former state GOP chairman Sue Everhart said Sibold wasn’t shy about politicking.

“He was one of these people who felt strongly about the people or the things he supported,” she said. “He’d let you know this was how he felt and he wanted you to go with him.”

In addition to his wife, Sibold is survived by daughters, Marybeth Sibold of Tuscaloosa, and Natalie Sibold of Athens; brother, Robin Sibold of Las Vegas, Nev.; and sister, Pamela Horn of Burlingame, Calif.

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