Robert Townsend Voyles Sr.: 83: Management consultant; dairy farmer

Robert Voyles Sr. grew up in Atlanta, but his parents ran an agricultural farm in the Jonesboro area.

His mother sold the farm in the early 1960s as industrial development crept in. Mr. Voyles and his two brothers, John and James, took proceeds from the sale and bought three tracts that sat side by side in Jasper County's Monticello.

By then married, Mr. Voyles lived in Atlanta, where he was a management consultant. But that didn't deter him from realizing his dream of operating a dairy farm. Some hands who lived on the property milked the cows and tended to other chores.

He'd rise sometimes at 2 a.m. on a weekday morning and drive from Buckhead to the property he named Tonka Farms. The family stayed on the farm in a trailer on weekends and during the summer months when school wasn't in session.

"It was a true dairy farm," said his son, Robert T. Voyles of  Roswell. "The cows produced 500 or so gallons every two to three days. He sold the milk. My father loved farming. I think it was in his blood, to tell you the truth."

On Friday, Robert Townsend Voyles Sr. died  from complications of emphysema and related illnesses at Saint Joseph's Hospital. He was 83. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Sandy Springs Chapel, which is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Voyles grew up in the West End, one of three boys and a girl born to the late Addie and James Homer Voyles Sr. He was a freshman at Georgia Tech when he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He served for 18 months, then returned to school, where he earned an industrial engineering degree in 1952.

For decades, Mr. Voyles was a management consultant. In the later part of his career, he ran his own business, Voyles & Associates, out of his home. He traveled across the Southeast for business in his own Cessna, which he kept at Fulton County Airport-Charlie Brown Field. The plane was destroyed during a tornado in the early 1970s.

Mr. Voyles was an Eagle Scout. He was a Mason and had served on the board of directors for Miss Georgia Dairies, Inc. He attended Tech football games with Betty Voyles, his wife of 58 years, until his health prevented it.

He sold the farm in the late 1960s.

"I think it got to be too much for him," his son said, "and farming changed, too."

His son said he and his sister were blessed to have grown up in the city and the country.

"I remember spending a lot of time down there," his son said, "driving pick-up trucks and tractors on the highway and on dirt roads. It was kind of strange at the time, being a city boy who grew up in Buckhead and who went to private schools."

Additional survivors include a daughter, Vicki Voyles of Athens; a brother, John E. Voyles of Monticello; and two grandsons.