Paul F. Thiele Fund

Paul Frederick Thiele was born on August 5, 1914 in Appleton, Wisconsin.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in Engineering, Mr. Thiele established the Thiele Kaolin Company. Since its founding in 1946, Thiele Kaolin has grown to be one of the world’s largest kaolin mining and processing companies. Mr. Thiele served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thiele Kaolin.

Mr. Thiele prided himself on serving his adopted home of Sandersville, Georgia. During 1968, he took the lead in developing the Georgia Surface Mined Land Use Act in 1968, which contributed to environmental preservation. In 1973, Paul Thiele co-founded the Georgia Mining Association. He also co-founded the Georgia Association of Independent Colleges and has been a strong supporter of the Mercer University Engineering Department.

Beyond establishing one of the largest employers in Washington County, Mr. Thiele was active in the Washington County Historical Society, the Community Concert Association, chairman of the Memorial Hospital Authority, and was a member of the Tennille United Methodist Church where he was a board member and choir director.

Paul and his wife Loretha Thiele were local philanthropists in the areas of education, religion, and industry. Mr. Thiele was especially renowned for his extensive support of local churches. Paul Thiele was a member of the Sandersville Music Club, as well as a board member of the Georgia Federation of Music Clubs.

Mr. Thiele died of respiratory failure on November 27, 2007, at age 93, at the University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. He is buried in Brownwood Cemetery in Sandersville, Georgia.  His widow, Loretha Theile, established the Paul F. Thiele Fund at the Georgia Historical Society in 2019, ensuring that his commitment to Georgia history will continue in perpetuity.