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By Leonard Sandberg

(Note: Sandberg was a founding  member of what was to become NAMI Cobb since the very beginning, around 1983. During those 20 years, he served on committees, as President for three terms, Vice-President for three terms and Treasurer for five terms. He wrote this history upon retirement as Treasurer, December 31, 2002.)

I don’t have the exact beginning, but Mr. Bill Warden of the Cobb County Mental Health Department began the Cobb Group in 1983 at a meeting room in Kennestone Hospital. The hospital provided the room and we were known as “Cobb Friends of the Mentally Ill”. We had very few attending the first few meetings which were publicized by the Marietta Daily Journal. From bits and pieces of records, we became organized in July 1984 with Frank Brock becoming the first President, and we moved to our current location for our monthly meetings: St. James Episcopal Church. The church furnishes our meeting place and well as providing fund donations to us through their outreach program – they always provide a donation after Christmas and Easter. We were affiliated with the National Association for the Mentally III (NAMI) in July 1985 and sometime later became affiliated with the Georgia Alliance for the Mentally III (GAMI). The first NAMI roster, dated December 1985, contained 24 members, of which 2 families of the charter membership remain as members today (written on December 31, 2002) – Norman Frank and Leonard Sandberg. The roster was audited and sent back to NAMI for the 1986 membership year, dropping 7 members and adding 13 new members for a total of 30 members in 1986.

The following is a list of Presidents that have served from the beginning of Cobb NAMI up to this date – of which, some served more than one term – and the order listed may not be exact – hope I didn’t leave anyone out:

Frank Brock
Doug Cowden
John Cannon
Kay Brown
Frank Rideout
Leonard Sandberg
Jim Reiser
Mary Lou Hallead
Dorthy Brown
Fred Corcoran
Ernest Spears
Barton Starr
Joe & Camille Auci

Since the above is created from memory and through interviewing “old timers” (except for the rosters mentioned), it is not meant to be completely accurate or all inclusive – as stated, any verified corrections to the above would be appreciated. A few of our “old timers” are:

Norman Frank, Shelby Torbet, Leonard Sandberg, Margeret Ekin, Joyce Jones, Martha Jones, Dorthy Brown, Doris Rideout, Edna Hicks, Mary Lou Hallead, Fran and Ray Hornbuckle, Geneva Edwards, Swiss Britt and others I am sure.

This list continues the previous list of Presidents from about 2003 to present:

Mark Staples
Ed Shanahan
Rick Kuehn
Lisa Roberts
Jennifer Locket
Robin Porter
Tim Link
Robert Gray

Thank you all for your service and dedication!


Leonard Sandberg

Cobb NAMI Member, December 31, 2002.

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