Buster#039; MacGuireremembered by friends, colleagues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2003

C.H. &uot;Buster&uot; MacGuire once said everything is a challenge and the biggest challenge is to improve yourself and try to do the job better than the last guy did.

On Tuesday morning, his family, friends and co-workers, past and present, remembered MacGuire and faced the challenge of life without him.

He died at approximately 8:30 a.m. at Crowne Health Nursing Facility where he had resided for the last few weeks following an illness. He was 82.

Email newsletter signup

MacGuire’s life began far from his beloved home in Greenville – he was born in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1921.

According to his only son, Colin, aka &uot;Big C,&uot; Buster got his nickname from the nurses at the hospital where his dad was born. Apparently, the newborn was quite hefty, and once they called him Buster, the name stuck.

His family, led by a father who was a doctor, moved to Montgomery when he was a child, and there he found his roots.

Journalism Career

Buster began writing for the Montgomery Advertiser in the 1940s, where he worked the police/fire beats. He stayed for two years before leaving to work the journalism craft at the newspaper in Lanett, then moved to Virginia.

MacGuire also tried his hand in business when he opened the Squire Men’s Shop. However, the call of the newspaper world was too great for him.

In 1963, he returned to Montgomery to begin a 15-year stint with the Advertiser where he rose through the ranks from reporter to city editor and finally the state desk. It was during this period that he worked on covering the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Gov. George Wallace.

Tuesday, those who worked with Buster at the Advertiser expressed their sorrow over his passing and remembered him from his younger days. One who worked with Buster was the Advertiser’s state editor, Bob Ingram, who worked as a capitol reporter during that time.

&uot;Buster was a telephone pal, he called me all the time,&uot; Ingram said via phone from his home in Montgomery. &uot;I talked to him not many weeks ago, but I had no idea he was that sick. He was a good guy.&uot;

He recalled Buster being a special type of journalist, one who never backed down in his pursuit of a story.

&uot;We were together in the ’50s and ’60s, when the Advertiser was home-owned and a pretty good newspaper,&uot; Ingram said. &uot;Other oldtimers call it the ‘good old days.’ We were just a breed of young journalists who looked forward to stirring things up. He was a good newspaperman. He was a good guy and a thoroughly competent newspaperman.

The biggest story, which almost won Buster’s reporting team the Pulitizer Prize, was the Dale’s Penthouse Restaurant fire that left 26 dead in a downtown Montgomery high rise.

&uot;It was the most horrible night of our lives,&uot; Ingram said. &uot;It was just awful. We were told everyone got out, and then they started finding body after body. They finally pulled 26 out. I had just left the Advertiser, but being the newsman that I was I went down and (Buster) was one of the lead men covering the story. He was a veteran by then and the man in charge of the coverage. I don’t remember a story like that in Montgomery in the last 50 years. They just don’t come any bigger than that.&uot;

Civic Leader

After leaving the Advertiser, Buster took a position with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, where his love of the community and his sense of civic duty blossomed like the city’s camellias.

He served as the chamber’s executive vice president from 1982 until 1992 and wrote over 600 personal columns highlighting people and places he held dear for the Greenville Advocate.

In 1992, he finished his career with the Chamber and told his faithful readers, &uot;Ta, ta. The party’s over.&uot; His successor at the chamber, Ralph Stacy, went on to become the president and chief executive officer of Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, following his stint at the local chamber. Stacy remembered his friend with fondness on Tuesday.

&uot;He basically got me introduced to chambers,&uot; Stacy said. &uot;He actually got me back to Greenville. He called me when I was in Orlando and asked me if I wanted to come back home. So I put my name in and guess what happened? I got it, and the rest is history.&uot;

Stacy said his writing ability and communication skills in general, he could attribute to former Advocate Publisher Gene Hardin and to MacGuire.

&uot;I also learned a lot about the world of communication between him and Gene Hardin,&uot; he said. &uot;Buster was always there. He was always a part of the community. We’ve been tied in with the family for a while.&uot;

Another thing significant about MacGuire, in Stacy’s opinion, was his two nicknames.

&uot;He was only guy I know who was cool enough to have two nicknames,&uot; he said. &uot;He was known as ‘Buster,’ but many people around town knew him as ‘Squire,’ because he owned the Squire men’s shop in town.&uot;

Stacy, who lived just down the street from MacGuire, said he felt the loss tremendously, and that he would miss him.

&uot;I’ve lost a great friend, a great neighbor and a great mentor,&uot; he said.

Butler County Probate Judge Steve Norman also expressed his sorrow about MacGuire’s death said gave him credit for his station in life today.

&uot;He got me involved in the chamber, and that was really the beginning for me,&uot; Norman said. &uot;I can say that I would not be in the position I’m in today had I not gotten involved in some civic activities at his urging.&uot;

He said MacGuire used to prod him into taking stands on issues and encouraged the young businessman to &uot;tell it like it is.&uot;

&uot;He was a black-and-white guy,&uot; Norman said. &uot;There was no gray area with him.&uot;

Norman reflected on MacGuire’s family life and said people could draw inspiration from all they did.

&uot;I was fortunate enough as a youngster to be in the same church with him and Nina, and what those people did for each other with the circumstances they faced, it was remarkable,&uot; he said. &uot;And what he did with Colin, getting him to be so positive, outgoing and confident, that’s all Buster right there. I thought that was the most incredible thing about him.&uot;