Guinn Warbington, 76: Former Southern Railroad conductor

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The Warbington children grew up in a house with model trains, which weren't toys for them to play with. The model sets belonged to their father, Guinn Warbington.

He loved trains.

"As a child, I can remember four or five train sets, with the little village and everything," said his daughter, Deborah Warbington of  Blue Ridge. "He would have had them all over the house if he could."

His hobby had ties to his profession. For a decade or so, Mr. Warbington worked for Southern Railroad as a switch man and as a conductor.  The other workers nicknamed him "Skillet" for his culinary skills in the caboose.

He worked at the Chamblee depot and, as the children grew older, made runs from Atlanta to Greenville, S.C., said a son, Alan Warbington of Blue Ridge.

"One of the things I remember is how they would grab a bag of mail at the different locations," his son said. "The train would slow down, and they'd throw out one bag and grab another one from a hook. As a kid, that was fascinating to me."

"One thing he got from working on the railroad was a firm grip," said Ricky Mullinax, a nephew who lives in Lawrenceville.  "That was from catching hold of the cars all the time. The railroad was his living for a time, and he enjoyed it."

On Thursday, Guinn L. Warbington of Snellville died from complications of lung cancer at Embracing Hospice Care, also in Snellville.  He was 76. A memorial service was held Monday at Sweetwater Chapel in Lawrenceville. R. T. Patterson Funeral Home in Lilburn handled arrangements.

Mr. Warbington was born on a dairy farm located between Beaver Ruin Road and Pleasant Hill Road.  The property was purchased by the family in the 1800s, with a relative paying $1 an acre for 100 acres, and was sold in 1973.

As a young man, Mr. Warbington didn't care for farm life. He wasn't interested in milking cows and tending crops. Soon after graduating from Norcross High School in 1951, he joined the Air Force Reserve and eventually was hired by Southern Railroad.

"He was the first son, so they expected him to stay on the farm, but he bucked that path completely," his daughter said. "He was the black sheep of the family, so to speak."

After he retired from Southern Railroad, Mr. Warbington worked at Peachtree Windows & Doors for several years. More recently, the woodworker had been a delivery man for NAPA  Auto Parts, located on U.S. Highway 78 in Lilburn.

When he turned ill, customers worried.

"A lot of customers asked about him when he got sick," store manager Freddie Vickery said Monday. "He was a super guy and an excellent employee."

Additional survivors include his wife of 10 years, Jan Warbington of  Snellville; two brothers, Clarence Lafayette Warbington of  Duluth and Elroy Warbington of Cumming; three sisters, Annie Louise Higginbotham of  Norcross; Constance Imogene Mullinax of  Duluth and Mildred Annette Chatham of  Dacula; and another son, Timothy Warbington of  Blue Ridge.