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We Lost Some Great Leaders in 2018

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As is my custom at the
close of the year, I like to
memorialize great Alabam

ians who have appeared and
lived legendary lives upon
the stage of political history
in the Heart of Dixie.
This year we have had
some real legends. I have
expanded the geographical
limits to outside of Ala-
bama to include two of the
greatest men in American
history. America’s great-
est preacher and one of the
nation’s great presidents
passed away. Most of these
fellows lived a long time.
One of my favorite men
I ever had the privilege to
know, Mr. John “Bubba”
Trotman, died in February
at age 93 in Montgom-
ery. Mr. Bubba was born
and raised in Troy, but
he spent his entire life in
Montgomery. He was the
best known cattle farmer in
Alabama. He served a stint
as President of the National
Cattleman’s Association.
Bubba played football at
Auburn and loved the Love-
liest Village on the Plains.
Bubba Trotman epitomized
the term, a true southern
gentleman. My mama grew
up with Bubba in Troy.
They graduated high school
together. One day I told
mama that Bubba was one
of the finest gentlemen I
had ever met. She said he
was just that way growing
up in Troy. A lot of people
in Montgomery loved
Bubba, but a lot of people
in Troy did too.
Billy Graham died in
February at the age of 99 at
his beloved mountain home
in the Blue Ridge Moun-
tains of North Carolina. He
was probably the great-
est preacher in American
history. He was America’s
preacher.
Speaking of great
preachers, Dr. John Ed
Mathison, the legend-
ary Methodist minister in Montgomery did not pass
away this year, however, he
has made his mark as one
of the greatest preachers in
Alabama history. John Ed
Mathison gave a master-
ful Eulogy for his friend,
Milton McGregor, who
passed away in March at
age 79. Milton McGregor
had a lot of friends through-
out the state. He was born
and raised in Hartford, and
spent his early adult life in
the Wiregrass.
Alabama lost one of its
greatest entrepreneurs and
charitable benefactors when
Milton passed away. He
created thousands of jobs
and generated hundreds of
millions of dollars in taxes
for Macon County and the
State of Alabama. There
are untold stories of people
who he personally helped
who were down on their
luck. He used his personal
jet to transport people he
did not even know to hospi-
tals all over the country for
medical care, more than he
used it for himself. He and
his wife, Pat, donated mil-
lions to charitable organiza-
tions as well as their church,
Frazer United Methodist in
Montgomery.
Milton McGregor was
the ultimate family man.
He was devoted to his wife,
Pat. They were married 50
years. He loved his wife
Pat and their two daughters,
Cindy and Kim, better than
life itself. He was an in-
tensely loyal friend to those
he called his friends.
Birmingham Congress-
man, John Buchanan, Jr.
passed away in March at
age 89. He was one of
Alabama’s and Jefferson
County’s first Republican
Congressman, having been
elected in the 1964 Goldwa-
ter Republican landslide in
the state. His father was the
longtime pastor of the leg-
endary, prominent, South-
side Baptist Church. His
congregation included most
of the City’s wealthiest and
most powerful businessmen.
It was where Liberty Na-
tional Life founder, Frank
Samford, went to church
along with his friends
and associates. Samford
University was built with
Liberty National money.
C.C. “Bo” Torbert passed
away in June at age 88 in
his beloved Lee County. He
served eight years in the
Alabama House and served
two four-year terms in the
Alabama Senate. He was
elected Chief Justice of the
Alabama Supreme Court in
1976 and was Chief Justice
for 12 years. He was a
great Alabama leader and a
gentleman.
Our 41st President,
George H. W. Bush passed
away at the age of 94 in
Houston, Texas on Decem-
ber 1, 2018. Bush served
as President from 1989 to
1993.
Bush was a true states-
man and gentleman. He
served his country in the
U.S. Navy during World
War II and later as a Con-
gressman, U.S. Ambassador,
our CIA Director, and Vice
President prior to being
elected President of the
United States.
Even though the above
resume of distinguished
service puts him in a league
very few Americans in U.S.
history can lay claim to, he
personally was probably
prouder of having been a
star first baseman on his
Y
ale Baseball team.
We lost some icons in
2018.
Happy New Year.