November 5, 2012
We are all standing on others’ shoulders. That’s what Lewis Meeks and I concluded when I interviewed him for an article about him here in my office in Perry on Wednesday, October 17.
Perry is an unusual small town. It’s clean, and for all my time of knowing and caring about it, has been that way. “Clean,” physically and fiscally. The politics have been civil. The people are generally sober, upright and civic minded. Good folks have run things. It’s a nice place to live.
Yes, we who are fortunate to live in this good place, and we are all standing on someone else’s shoulders. Actually, more than one person’s shoulders. And, to my mind, at least during much of my lifetime, much of the credit for this great place to live goes to the people (all men, save one) that have served as Perry’s Mayor.
This is an article about the Mayors of Perry that I have personally known. This goes back to A. M. Anderson, who was Mayor from 1934 to 1938. I didn’t know him when he was Mayor (I wasn’t even born then), but did know him later as ‘an across Swift Street neighbor’ for many years. He must have been very young when he was Mayor – possibly, and perhaps probably, Perry’s youngest Mayor. Since he was the first Mayor that I knew, let’s start with him and go to our present Mayor, Jimmy Faircloth.
A. M. Anderson (1934-1938). As I wrote, he, along with his wife, Laura, and his four children, Angela, Laurie, Phyllis and Milledge (Mick) lived directly across Swift Street from where we, the Walker children, Larry, David, Lynda and Charlie, grew up. Mayor Anderson would later be Judge Anderson (Macon Circuit Superior Court Judge), called Phil Anderson by many, when I first knew who he was. His daughter, Phyllis, was in my school class for twelve years and graduated from Perry High School in 1960 with Janice and me. His son, Mick, who lives in Macon, is my doctor when I need to be seen and treated for what he does. Anderson was an outstanding person from an outstanding family.
Sam A. Nunn (1938-1945). “Mr. Sam” to me and many. Husband of ‘Miss’ Elizabeth. Father of Betty and Sam, Jr. Mr. Sam was an outstanding churchman, lawyer, community citizen and, for many years, was the “go to man” for folks in and out of Perry. Senator Nunn and Betty Mori continue to honor the great names of their mother and father.
George F. Nunn (1946-1947). “Mr. Francis,” as he was called by many, including me, was best known by me, and many others, as the choir director, for decades, at the Perry Methodist Church. He was outstanding in this role, which he performed without pay, and was a much respected Perry citizen. He was the husband of Coralie and father of Marjorie, Mary Sue and George. Janice and I graduated from Perry High School with Mary Sue, and George and I played basketball together at Perry High School. George is now known to most Perryans as “Judge Nunn”.
Chas P. Gray (1948-1949). This is my favorite Perry Mayor of all times. He is also my grandfather – “Grandbuddy” to me and his other eight grandchildren. Grandbuddy was the husband of Hazel and the father of Virginia (Ginny), Hilda (my mother), Helen and Betty. And, like I say, my favorite Mayor. Grandbuddy was the Chevrolet dealer in Perry for about forty years, and was in partnership with Daddy in the tractor and farm supply businesses. He was a staunch Republican and a very active Methodist, and quite a man, even if I do say so!
Mayo Davis (1950-1953). Mr. Davis was one of Houston County’s best businessmen. He also served the county with distinction as a Georgia State Senator. Mr. Davis was the husband of Katherine and the father of Billie. His four grandsons, Davis, Jim, Mayo and Colton carry on in their grandfather’s tradition by being astute businessmen with their ownership and running of the Davis Oil Company. To many of Mr. Davis’ friends, he was known as “Pete” Davis.
Judge Anderson, Mr. Sam, Mr. Francis, Grandbuddy, and Mr. Pete Davis are what I would call ‘Perry’s Wise Men’, the ‘old lions’ if you
will. They served Perry extremely well. They encouraged other greats to follow. Next week and thereafter, I will tell you a little something about each of Perry’s next nine Mayors.
This is the first of at least a six part series on Perry’s Mayors, which will probably be of more interest to Perryans than others, although to my mind, much is to be learned from the benefits to a small town of having good leadership and over a long period of time.
NEXT WEEK: PART TWO OF STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF PERRY’S MAYORS
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