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Esneul dies at age 92

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
Atmore businessman and public servant Hugo Esneul died Monday at age 92. Though he was a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., he always considered himself an Atmorean. His family moved here in 1918 when he was in the fifth grade.
Esneul was working with the railroad in 1928 when he came home for Christmas. R. Leon Jones, who owned the Ford place, needed help taking inventory and asked Esneul if he was interested. His temporary job over the Christmas holidays turned into a 32-year career in the car business.
In 1935, he married the boss's daughter, Doris.
Over the years, Esneul was involved in numerous business ventures – housing, automobile financing, real estate financing and banking. Some of these ventures built much of the city – 45 to 50 houses and many commercial buildings.
Esneul may be best remembered for his years of public service to the community.
In the 1940s, he served as chairman of the Gas Rationing Board. He later said it was the worst job he ever had.
He served as chairman of the Housing Authority, chairman of the Planning Board and member of the Commission on Education.
In 1964, Esneul got a paying job with the city – $10 a month as a member of the Utilities Board. Just days away from his retirement in 1992, he said the one thing he was particularly proud of was his service on that board. He served for a number of years with board manager Tony Albert, who died earlier in October.
Esneul was president of United Bank from 1967 to 1969 and a director for many years. At his death, he bore the distinction of being the oldest active member of the Atmore Rotary Club.
Robert Maxwell was a long-time friend and associate.
Esneul is survived by his son Hugo Leon Esneul and his wife Jo; sisters Virginia Hoomes and Catherine Lowrey; grandsons Karl Esneul and Michael Esneul; and great-grandson Daniel Esneul.
Services will be today, Nov. 1, at 3 p.m., with visitation one hour prior to service time.