Haygood, city#039;s best ambassador

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2003

This Greenville icon arrived on the scene simultaneously with the advent of World War I.

At that time, in the year 1914, Greenville had but one paved street, made of brick, that extended from the railroad station to the courthouse. Very few horseless carriages were in evidence during that period.

It was in the era that cotton was king that Marion Howard Haygood came into being on May 31, 1914.

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His youthful appearance today belies the fact that he has been around for slightly over three-quarters of a century.

Still active and alert in the practice of his chosen profession – law – Howard exhibits a keen awareness and interest in world events affecting our fast-changing universe.

Although he earned his law degree at the University of Alabama in 1938, it was not until 1946 that he hung out his shingle and launched his career as a barrister.

Since that time, he has served variously as inferior court judge and judge of the juvenile court for a period of 20 years while maintaining his private law practice at the same time.

But, back to the beginning, Howard received his early education at Butler County High School (BCHS – now Greenville High) from which he graduated in 1931. One of his extracurricular activities included a place on the BCHS football team.

After high school, he entered Bob Jones College at Greenville, South Carolina, where he earned his BA in religion.

It was then that he entered law school at the university, graduating with the class of 1938.

His first line of work then was as the lowest-paid lineman with the REA, although he worked with a crew of high-school dropouts.

It was not long, however, before his superiors discovered he was highly over-qualified for the job he held and was made manager of the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative at Geneva.

While serving that area he met his wife-to-be, the former Katharine Liddon Smith of Dothan. They were married in 1940, they celebrated their Golden 50th wedding anniversary in 1990.

Katharine was a caseworker with the Welfare Department in Geneva when they met.

They had two daughters, Kathy and Marion. Kathy (Haygood) today is a practicing attorney with the Federal Deposit Insurance Cooperation, while Marion is the mother of two sons and a daughter and resides in Tuscaloosa with her children and husband, Hal Threadcraft, who is studying for his doctorate.

During the Great War, World War II, Howard served as a naval officer from July 1942 until discharged in January 1946, seeing active service in three theaters – Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific.

Following his military service, Howard came home to Greenville and readjusted to civilian life by entering into the practice of law.

He was one of the instrumental founders of the Greenville Bank, which he served as a director before selling out his interests there after a 25-year stint with that body.

Never much of a "joiner," Judge Haygood allows that besides his banking experience, he does maintain memberships in the Alabama Bar Association and the Greenville United First Methodist Church where he has held every (almost) available position except that of minister and as a member of the finance committee.

He is a widely traveled man, having made numerous visits (unguided) to most of the European nations. He notes that he gets along famously with the people of those countries primarily because he communicates with them as their equal.

They only exception to that rule of thumb, says the judge, is with the French, who seem to "harbor some sort of resentment toward the U.S."

Be all that as it may, we are happy to have Mr. Haygood serve as Greenville's voluntary emissary to our overseas neighbors.

Buster MacGuire is copy editor and columnist for the Greenville Advocate.

He may be reached by calling 334.382.3111