Oh, my papa, a real man#039;s man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Last week this space was allotted to Mama.

So, in fairness, we'll devote a couple hundred words this week to Dad.

He was a man's man, and as such he instilled in his five young'uns traits that included honesty, respect for others and a genuine thirst for knowledge.

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He lost his own father when he was six years old and inherited the responsibility of becoming the man of the house with the need to assist in caring for his mother and a lone sibling, his younger sister.

Dad somehow made time to attend school through the sixth grade, when he had grown almost to his teens, at which time he tended the small family farm.

He later found a job in the coal mines, became a prize-fighter as a boxer, and later developed a love of reading and learning.

All the above

particularly the "learning" aspect, led him to apply for a college education. He was so apt and knowledgeable that he passed the entrance exams for matriculation.

In short, he graduated with honors, and later entered the Presbyterian Seminary at Princeton, graduating again with honors.

All the above could be likened to a storybook tale, which in reality it was.

He was pastor of the Old North Presbyterian Church in Boston in 1926 when a pulpit committee from Montgomery's First Presbyterian Church sought his services.

His response was positive, and he filled his charge there for 27 years, until retirement in 1953.

But, that's not all, folks, because he was called at that time by then-governor Gordon Persons to serve Alabama in a newly-created post as spiritual, recreational and rehabilitation director of the state's prison system.

Prior to his death, he had authored the construction of three prison chapels (Kilby, Draper and Atmore) and the hiring of three chaplains.

That isn't the whole story, but it's enough of it to convince our readers that he was, in truth, a man's man.

His tenure on this planet (79 years) was brief, but his impact on it is interminable.