Gross was a great asset to our fair city

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Again, it’s always good to write good news about good people. Dr. Steve Shirley and former Chamber of Commerce head Nathan Gross come to mind.

Steve is a professional, tops in his dentistry field to say the least. I’d be willing to say he has never turned away a new patient coming to him with a severe toothache. Do you know any dentist who may have done this? Not Steve. He and my son Steve coached advance baseball together a few years ago. His son played on that team. And what a good ballplayer he was. By the way, that son has now successfully entered the medical profession. So we say thanks, Dr. Shirley, for the professional role you play in our community.

Hugh Rozelle once said Nathan had one of the most brilliant minds of any Chamber of Commerce head and could totally sell Atmore to a client with just a phone call And, I agree with him to the fullest. A retired military officer, he was properly schooled in diplomacy, business, speech and writing. I have heard reports of his contacts with future Atmore businesses were exceptional. When he wrote letters to business prospects, many of them came running. He was so aware of things going on not only here, but also abroad. And what about Lema, his wife? She was such a wonderful, intelligent lady.

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I remember the day they left to return to Florida. They would join their daughter Arnell who, along with her family, operated one of the most successful greyhound racing kennels in the state. It was not long after that I learned of his passing. But, we all remember his good deeds here in Atmore and we posthumously thank him for it all.

I am told some from our community disapprove of my writing favorably about the Poarch Creeks’ casino. I dug into and learned who some of them are. A few of those who aired these remarks against me publicly may one day have relatives working there. Wow, what hypocrites. These folks and every one must be glad we have this thriving enterprise here. Countless people look to this organization for employment. Only the less broad-minded ones air these complaints.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from 1975 and 1966.

There was a rare treat on the local golf course in 1975. H.C. Williams and Frank Slay each scored “holes in one” in separate tournaments. Both men were regarded as avid golfers.

Woodrow McLain Parker, a graduate of Escambia County Training School and the University of Florida, was named the director of Physical and Vocational Counseling Center at U of F. Dr. Parker holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from that university.
Mrs. Joyce McGhee, widow of former tribal Chairman Calvin McGhee, passed away in 1975. Mrs. McGhee was active with her husband in Creek Indian affairs, having traveled with him on several occasions to The Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C.

There was a gala State Academy Rodeo held at Atmore Saddle Club under the direction of Glen Jernigan. Some of the winning participants were Eddie Presley, Mike Ward, Gary Hetzel, Jay Blacksher, Chuck Flowers, Steve Jernigan, Tony James, Elizabeth Hildreth and Shane Mason.

In 1966, there was some sad news upon learning of the death of beloved former local teacher Mary Hodnette. Having served here for many years, the popular educator lost her life in a car crash near Auburn. She moved from Atmore a few years before the tragic accident.

Two Perdido teachers, Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Trawick left their positions for jobs in Southbay, Florida. They were the parents of the late Archie Trawick, former Escambia County Department of Education head. The Trawicks, however, returned to Baldwin County following their retirements.

Former ECHS student and football standout Alan Davis received scholarship in accounting from the University of Alabama.

The EWHS Jazz Ensemble took top honors at the Stage Band Competition at Troy University. Members of that group included Terrill Spence, Mike McKinley, Pete Plant, Tony Andress, Phillis Brown, Bruce Stone and Mike Eubanks.

Two Atmore physicians, Dr. C.S. Crawford and Dr. C.P. St Amant, hauled in a prize catch in the Pensacola Billfish Tournament that year. Angling on Dr. St. Amant’s cruiser “Ragin Cajun” they landed a six-foot, 10.5-inch billfish to capture the event. They also caught a marlin weighing slightly over 86 pounds. This, too, was a tournament-winning catch.

A big gospel sing featured the Hopewell Quartet, Jay Quartet, Carnley Trio, Melody Masters, Gospel 4 and the Dixie Melody Quartet. Well-known gospel promoters Ruth Fillingim and J.G Whitfield spearheaded the event.

More next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at