"Bobby always handled things in the most professional way, without getting upset. That was just one of the great things about Bobby," he said.
After his retirement, Mr. Ethridge took a part-time job at a Harley Davidson dealership in Stone Mountain. Mr. Ethridge worked there until approximately four years ago, when his body began to fail him, his wife said. Since his retirement, he'd endured complications of diabetes, a double lung transplant and most recently he'd developed cancer.
But even through considerable illness, Mr. Ethridge remained upbeat and enjoyed the friendships he'd established over the years, friends said.
"He always wanted to make people laugh," said friend Rick Morris, of Conyers. "And he did that for me right up until the very end."
In addition to his wife, Mr. Ethridge is survived by his children, Brandi Morris of Alpharetta, Corey Arnold of Bethlehem and Pepper Hutcheson of Gulf Shores, Ala.; stepmother, Kathy Etheridge of Roswell; brother, Jimmy Viallano of Florida; and four grandchildren.