Buckhead Heritage Board Member Bios
Ivan Allen, IV (President) – Ivan is a fourth generation Atlantan and has served on the board of Buckhead Heritage for 5 years as Chair of the Membership Committee and the Nominating Committee. Ivan also has a heart for historic cemeteries and has worked diligently on the cemetery at
New Hope AME Church. Ivan also serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech. Along with his wife Blain, and their four children, they all enjoy community restoration projects.
Thornton Kennedy (Vice President) – Thornton has rejoined the Buckhead Heritage board after a several year hiatus. He graduated from Belmont Abbey College and has been a stalwart of local journalism. Thornton worked at the Marietta Daily Journal before becoming the editor of the Northside Neighbor for five years. He then served as an editor with the Atlanta Business Chronicle. For more than a decade he’s been a weekly columnist for the Northside Neighbor and run PR South.
Thornton has served on the executive committee of the Atlanta Humane Society and the Georgia board of the Trust for Public Land. He is president-elect of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, and serves on the boards of the Atlanta Music Festival Association and the Easterling-Hallman Foundation. He was born and raised in Buckhead, a sixth- generation Atlantan on both his mother’s and father’s sides. He and his wife Lori have a daughter at College of Charleston and a son at the University of Maryland.
Frank W. Virgin (Secretary) – Frank grew up on Vernon Road, formally known as Serpentine Road. He attended E. Rivers School, The Lovett School, The Darlington School. He received his B.B.A degree from Emory University, and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Frank received his J.D. degree from the University of Georgia, School of Law. He is currently a partner with Taylor English Duma, LLP. Frank is a member of and has served as president of The Atlanta Lawyers Club, The Piedmont Driving Club, and The Nine O’Clocks. He has been Board Chair of Center for the Visually Impaired and Georgia Cooperative Services for the Blind. Susan, a native of High Point, North Carolina, and Frank have been married for 49 years. They have lived on Dellwood Drive for 41 years and have two children and five grandchildren. They are active members of All Saints’ Episcopal Church.
Michael Armstrong (Treasurer) – Mike moved to Buckhead from New York in the 1960’s, graduating from the Lovett School. He attended Washington and Lee University, majoring in European History, and received his MBA in finance and marketing from the Mason School at the College of William and Mary. Mike worked at Austin Kelley Advertising, First San Francisco Corp and Bankers Trust Company before becoming chief executive of the Gimborn Company. He was a principle with the Monarch Company, and currently a general partner at AFP, Ltd. He is a former trustee at W & L, has served as the finance chair on the Frazer Center board for 8 years, and is the Treasurer on the Children’s Rehabilitation Center board. His wife Jane Lauderdale Armstrong is known to many around Buckhead as a 2nd generation Westminster teacher. They have 2 children, David and Kate.
Charlotte Margolin (Past President) – Charlotte lives in the Peachtree Heights East/Duck Pond neighborhood and works with Peachtree Hills Place, an Isakson Living Company. Her career has included work at the Fox Theater, Bobby Dodd Institute, and Peachtree Presbyterian Church. Charlotte has also been a volunteer at numerous charities, including Founding Director and President of the Ladies of the Lake and board member and Chairman of Atlanta’s Table. She has a husband, Bob, and a son who resides in Washington, DC.
Board of Directors
Alec Michaelides – Alec co-founded Land Plus in 1985. This Pharr Rd based Landscape Planning and Architecture firm works with architects, designers, builders, and real estate professionals on site planning and landscape design. Alec received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech before working for several other Atlanta firms.
The Land Plus offices are adjacent Mt Olive cemetery in Historic Bagley Park, and Alec has worked with Buckhead Heritage for several years on improvements. He has developed a master plan for the cemetery which has been approved and permitted by the City of Atlanta, and is working pro bono with several of his contractors on implementation.
Beckie Amos – Beckie grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Florida State University. She is with Harry Norman Realtors, where she has been active for over 25 years. Beckie has served on the board of the Cathedral Preschool, and is an active member at the Cathedral of St. Philip, the North Buckhead Civic Association, and the American Cancer Society. She and her husband John have 2 sons.
Carol Grady – Carol is an Atlanta native, born at Emory Hospital. She has been a lifelong Buckhead resident, first near Bobby Jones, and then near the North Fulton golf course. She has been a docent at the Georgia Governors Mansion, and at the Atlanta High Museum of Art for over 30 years. Carol has worked as a travel agent, and led tours of Atlanta for Presenting Atlanta. She is a member of First Presbyterian Church, and was part of the Care Council. Carol has been an active member and volunteer on the Buckhead Heritage Events Committee for several years.
Chris Hastings – Chris Hastings is a graduate of Lovett School and Cornell University, where he studied both Business Administration and Ornamental Horticulture, receiving B.S. and M.P.S. degrees. Chris is a Certified Arborist, and the first Georgia Board Certified Master Arborist. He represents the fourth generation of Southern horticulturists in his family, as the great-grandson of H.G. Hastings, the founder of the H.G. Hastings Seed Company in 1889. Chris has written three gardening books; Month-by-Month Gardening in the South, (co-authored with his father), Southern Lawns, and children’s book The Zoo Garden. Chris has toured the South promoting his books and speaking on gardening topics. Chris owns Arbormedics, a leader in the field of tree preservation in Atlanta and the southeast. Chris has served on the Boards of the Southeastern Horticulture Society and the Cherokee Garden Library at the Atlanta History Center. He and his wife Amy have two teenage boys.
Christy Morris – Christy graduated from the University of Gerogia with a BFA in Interior Design. She worked with designers Dotty Travis, Jane Marsden and Susan Wilcox, and with Image Design, Inc. in the commercial design field. Her design work has been featured in several national magazines, and includes two historic home museums in Washington, DC. Christy has voluntered for numerous charities, including Colonial Dames, the Georgia Trust, the High Museum, Children’s Healthcare, Shepherd Center, Atlanta History Center, Botanical Gardens, and Atlanta Preservation Center. She received the Spirit of 1812 award for her volunteer work. Christy and her husband Sonny raised four children in Buckhead, and live in the Paces neighborhood.
Elizabeth Morgan Spiegel – Elizabeth is a founding member of Buckhead Heritage Society. She is an Arkansas native who attended Randolph-Macon and Vanderbilt University. Elizabeth has served on many non-profit boards and assisted with events for Alliance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Botanical Gardens, History Center, Opera Guild, Symphony, Grady Hospital Foundation, High Museum of Art, Morehouse School of Medicine, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Spinal Shepard Center, among others. With three children and eight grandsons she has an active family life.
Elon Butts Osby – Elon is a native Atlantan with long family roots in Buckhead. Her grandparents, William and Ida Bagley, purchased 3 lots and settled in Macedonia Park on Pharr Rd in 1912. The City of Atlanta redeveloped the area into Bagley Park in the 1950’s; today it’s known as Frankie Allen Park, after a little league baseball coach. Elon’s grandparents, along with an aunt and uncle, are buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery located in the park. Elon joined with Buckhead Heritage in filing a lawsuit to stop the removal of the graves from Mt Olive Cemetery in 2009, and has been involved with our group ever since. Elon’s first job was at Tiffany and Co. in Phipps Plaza; since then she has had a fascinating and varied career, including several jobs at City Hall, and now works at the Atlanta Housing Authority. Elon is a member of the NPU-J Executive Board in northwest Atlanta, and has 2 daughters and 2 grandsons.
Howard Benson – Howard Benson was one of the first investors/property owners instrumental in saving Buckhead’s historic Cotton Exchange Building in 1984 when he located his national fundraising practice to the building. He has had a longstanding interest in Buckhead’s viability since serving as a senior staff executive of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce from 1972 thru 1977 when he established his firm. He retired as CEO of National Community Development Services, Inc. in 2019 and now owns Foxglove Antiques & Galleries on Miami Circle founded in 2000 by his wife, Sheila, who passed away in 2023. He previously served as a Board member and Secretary of Buckhead Heritage from 2018 to 2020 and also as a member of the Program & Events Committee.
Judith Vanderver – Judith Anderson Vanderver is a descendent of 1820’s settlers of what is now the Atlanta area on Utoy Creek. Her great-grandparents moved to Buckhead in 1930 from West End and generations have since resided here. She is an alumna of Trinity School, The Westminster Schools and Vanderbilt University. She is a professional photographer, a real estate investor, a genealogy and Atlanta history enthusiast and a nature lover. For fun, Judith, her husband Tim, and daughter Hannah love working as background in Marvel movies. She is currently engaging others to help restore an historic abandoned cemetery adjacent to her Connally family cemetery.
Mary Anne Walser – A REALTOR® and licensed attorney, Mary Anne Walser has been a top producing REALTOR® in Atlanta for almost 20 years. Before dedicating her life to real estate, Mary Anne was a television news anchor for a decade and then an accomplished attorney. She still holds an active license to practice law in Georgia; although, she now sells real estate full time. She is married to James Haverty Smith, an architect and fifth-generation Atlanta native. She is dedicated to many charitable, artistic and civic causes and is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, the Atlanta Bar Association and Commercial Real Estate Women.
Emeritus Board Members
John Beach – John is a Lovett and Georgia Tech grad and partner at Paces Construction Co., where he focuses on preserving and updating Buckhead area homes. He was a guest lecturer and speaker for 10 years at Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, where he received his MS degree in residential building. He is a member of the Society of Architectural Historians, and lectures on buildings, history and preservation. John and his wife Ann live in Buckhead and have an adult son and two shorthair pointers.
Tamara Bazzle – Mrs. Bazzle, a Buckhead native, is a retired interior designer who also serves as a member of the Board of Overseers for the Atwood House Museum/Chatham Historical Society in Chatham, Massachusetts. An active community volunteer, she has served on the boards of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Atlanta Preservation Center, the Samaritan Counseling Center and Canterbury Court. She is a founding member of Buckhead Heritage and has served multiple terms on the board, executive committee, and as President.
W. Wright Mitchell – Wright is currently President and CEO of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. He comes from a successful law career in private practice, specializing in civil litigation and historic preservation law. In 2005, Mitchell founded the Buckhead Heritage Society and served as its volunteer president for 10 years. Under his leadership, Buckhead Heritage implemented numerous historic preservation programs and received the Excellence in Rehabilitation Award from the Georgia Trust in 2009 for the restoration of Harmony Grove Cemetery.
Buckhead Heritage Society
3180 Mathieson Drive, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30305