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Honoring The Memory Of Massey Palmer Bedsole, Jr.

Rep. Jo Bonner

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Mr. Speaker, the city of Mobile and, indeed, the entire State of Alabama recently lost a dear friend, and I rise today to honor him and pay tribute to his memory.

Born in Mobile on July 21, 1928, Massey Palmer Bedsole, Jr., graduated from University Military School and then Virginia Military Institute. Upon graduation from V.M.I., Palmer served 2 years as an infantry officer, 1 year as an intelligence officer and later, in Korea, during the Korean War.

As a native of Mobile, Palmer was known by many as a champion of the arts, civic leader and philanthropist.

For many years, he was the chairman of the J.L. Bedsole Foundation, which focuses primarily on civic projects. Among other things, the foundation funds a scholarship program that provides assistance for area students from southwest Alabama to go to college, and also runs the MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corporation, which assists housing construction in lower income neighborhoods in and around Mobile.

In addition to these programs, the foundation also supports the Centre for the Living Arts, which was founded by Palmer and his lovely wife, Ann.

Palmer Bedsole was awarded the 2004 Outstanding Citizen Award of Mobile because of his creation and involvement with the Centre for the Living Arts. This center operates Space 301, an art gallery in the former Mobile Press-Register building, as well as the historic Saenger Theater. Palmer was a driving force behind the renovations of this Mobile landmark.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in remembering a dedicated community leader, a successful businessman, a respected farmer and true friend to many throughout Alabama and around the country.

At 6 feet 6 inches, Palmer Bedsole was not only a tall man, but he was big in heart and generous in spirit. Naturally, he will be missed by his family--his wife of 48 years, Ann Smith Bedsole; his children, Raine Bedsole, George Demmas, Mary Martin Riser and John Henry Martin; and his grandchildren--as well as the countless friends he leaves behind.

Our thoughts and prayers are with them all at this difficult time.