Earl Stabler was a mechanic and preacher for more than 40 years
(This week The Atmore Advance spotlights Earl Stabler. He is 91 years old. )
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born on Nov. 2, 1915 in Monroe County close to Eliska.
A doctor delivered me at our family home.
I remember the house was a little rough lumber house that sat high off the ground.
We lived in that same house until I was probably eight years old.
We moved to Bill Tucker's plantation where my daddy worked as a farmer.
Q: Who were your parents?
A: Posey Lee Stabler was my daddy's name. He originated in Franklin up above Monroeville back in those woods. He was an Irishman.
My mother, Inez Williams, was from Eliska.
Q: Did you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I has three brothers and one sister. I was the oldest and am the only one living.
Q: Where did you attend high school and college?
A: I went to the little school house in Eliska from the first grade through the sixth grade.
After the sixth grade I caught the bus to go to Uriah High School.
I went to the first day of school there and the principal stopped me that afternoon and reminded me to bring $10 the next day for tuition.
I told him that I would either have the $10 the following day or I wouldn't be back for school.
I caught the bus for home and waited for my daddy to come home from work.
My dad asked how my first day of high school went and I told him good.
Then I told him that I would need $10 to go back. He didn't have it, so I never went back.
It was hard for me to not go back to school the next day.
I wanted to get myself to where I could learn how to do something.
I really wanted to get my high school diploma. But I made it pretty good with a sixth grade education.
I had a teacher who worked with me and during that time I turned my life over to God. That was the best thing I have ever done in my life.
Q: How did you travel when you were younger?
A: I walked two to three miles to school each way .
I got in a little trouble sometimes with the Jacobson brothers walking home from school.
My uncle lived close to us and he had a Model T that we used to love to ride around in. He never carried us to school in it, but he would let us ride around with him. He even let me drive it some.
I got a Model T after I was married and had two children.
Q: What jobs did you hold?
A: When I couldn't go back to school in the seventh grade, I got a job a Swift Lumber mill.
I was probably 12 years old at the time. I started out cutting train wood and cross ties.
After working there, I got a job at Brookley Field in Mobile as a mechanic.
I started working on Model T's when I was eight years old.
I had never worked on airplanes, but had enough experience to get the job there.
During that time I was drafted into the military and they deferred me as long as I stayed and worked on the airplanes at Brookley Field.
I had a wife and two children at home at the time and my boss said that they needed someone to stay here to give the soldiers something to fight with. I ended up working there until the end of WWII.as an airplane mechanic and later an airplane engine inspector.
I wanted to go back home to Uriah, so my uncle wanted me to open a mechanic shop with him in Uriah.
After a while, my uncle decided that he wanted to run the office part of the business and me stay in the garage and take care of all the mechanics .
I did that for about a year and got tired of it and sold my part of the business to my uncle.
I went back to Atmore and went to work at a mechanic's shop called Sam's Place for about 12 years.
He helped me find my house in Bratt, Fla., when I was working for him. I bought the house and 25 acres of land for $1,800.
After working at Sam's I got a job running the new school bus garage at Walnut Hill, Fla., for the school board in Escambia County.
After 12 years there, I went back to work at Brookley Field for another 12 years and retired in 1981.
In the 1960's I became an ordained preacher. I preached for 40 years from Monroe County down to Pensacola, Fla.
I worked a full time job and preached for a long time.
Q: Did you ever marry?
A: My first wife, Lula, was from Eliska. We were married for 56 years before she passed away.
I took care of her when she got so sick. She didn't want to be put in a nursing home.
Before she died, she told me that she wanted me to find another lady that would love me and take care of me and be someone that I could love.
I told her that I wouldn't give a dime for a dozen of them and that I didn't want to fool with another one.
Then on Jan. 12, 1981, I married Adell from Bay Minette. She is in the nursing home now and I go see her everyday.
Q: Do you have any children or grandchildren?
A: Lula and I had two boys and eight girls. They are all still living except for one of the girls.
And then Adell had four children when we got married. She has three still living.
I have a pile of grandchildren and great grandchildren. I am afraid to say how many exactly because there are so many.
Q: Where do you attend church?
A: I have been a member at Brooks Memorial Baptist Church in Atmore for a long, long time.
I never taught a class or sang in the choir because I was always going somewhere to preach for someone.
Q: What keeps you busy these days?
A: I go to the nursing home to see my wife and I take care of myself and my house.
Q: Have you traveled much?
A: No, I like to stay put. I've never liked traveling anywhere.
Q: What's your favorite television show?
A: Television is not worth a nickel. I don't like it and I don't watch it. I don't even watch the news.
I have a t.v. but I don't turn it on at all.
Q: What advice do you give to people on staying healthy?
A: I don't give any advice. The best think thing they can do is look up yonder to the Father.
(If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact Janet Little Cooper at 368-2123 or e-mail her at lifestyles@atmoreadvance. com)
By By Janet Little Cooper A parade and program honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired hundreds of... read more