From atmore magazine

Inducted into the Atmore Area Hall of Fame, April 2019

Dr. Wil Baker

Atmore native Wilmer E. Baker, PhD, is a 1953 graduate of Escambia County High School.

He has served as Associate Dean of Clinical Resources for Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) in Dothan.

Dr. Baker received his Ed.D. in Research and Psychology from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1973. He also holds an Ed.S. Specialist in Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (1971), an M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi (1967), a Th.M. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (1967), and a B.A. from Samford University (1956).

Dr. Baker served in the United States Marine Corps, active duty, for 4.5 years as an Aviator and continued his service in the Marine Reserves, Air National Guard, and Army National Guard as a pilot and service member of the Medical Service Corps (retired, 1994).

Dr. Baker served in the Department of Family Practice at the University of South Alabama, College of Medicine, 1975-1996, as an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor of Behavioral Medicine. During that tenure he also served as Assistant to the Vice President of Medical Affairs, and Assistant Dean for Continuing Medical Education.

Following retirement from the University of South Alabama, Dr. Baker served as the Project Director for the Alabama Southern Rural Access Program, 1999-2005. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director for the Alabama Medical Education Consortium (AMEC).

As the Executive Director of AMEC, Dr. Baker developed an extensive network of clinical training sites throughout the state of Alabama. Partnering with seven different osteopathic medical colleges located throughout the United States, these sites provided opportunities for students to experience their third- and fourth-year training in community-based settings. The growth and success of this clinical network endeavor led to the founding of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and the subsequent vision of the ACOM’s mission “To establish and maintain an osteopathic primary care physician pipeline for rural and underserved Alabama.”

As the AMEC network transitioned into the ACOM Clinical Resources Division in 2015, Dr. Baker brought valuable experience and progressive vision as its Associate Dean. Under his direction, the enriched and ever-expanding clinical network, coupled with skilled core site management, adds value to the clinical clerkship experience for ACOM students. Continuing his efforts to grow the physician pipeline for Alabama, his and AMEC’s most recent focus has been on expanding Graduate Medical Education opportunities in the state. This initiative has been advanced through success in obtaining state funding to support the start-up of up to 12 new residency programs in Alabama.



Robert Willard Faircloth, Sr.

Robert Faircloth was born June 6, 1930 in Wallace, Alabama., and moved to Atmore as a child. He eventually became involved with the family grocery business.

In 1968, he bought The Ponderosa, a teenage hangout, from Joe Linam. After a series of trails and errors, he came up with the Party Burger, which sold 5 for $1. If you ask anyone today what they remember about the Ponderosa it would be the Party Burger.

As mentioned, The Ponderosa was a teenage hangout. On Friday and Saturday nights, all the teenagers would make the trip from The Ponderosa to the Dairy Bar and back again. Mr. Faircloth really enjoyed having a parking lot full of teenagers. He would fondly recall the special bond that he had with the teenagers. He never called parents but handled any problems himself. He made sure that if your parents were looking for you that you got home!

Mr. Faircloth also opened a chicken restaurant in the Winn Dixie Shopping Center that served great fried chicken.

In 1985, he and Rob opened their first Church’s Chicken Franchise. At one point, Mr. Faircloth was involved with 12 restaurants. He received the Franchisee of the Year Award and the Home Town Hero Award from Church’s. The Hometown Hero Award was for his community involvement in Atmore.

In 1993, Mr. Faircloth transitioned The Ponderosa to David’s Catfish. He wanted a simpler menu and to work less hours. The menu was simpler than The Ponderosa’s, but he continued to work the hours.

He continued his community efforts through David’s. He was generous with his restaurant supplies and donations to his community. David’s is still a family-owned restaurant and Rob continues this legacy today.

Prior to Mr. Faircloth’s death, David’s was honored as Business of the Year by the Atmore Chamber of Commerce.

He was an active member of First United Methodist Church and proud to be a member of the Barnes Boys.



Ann P. Gordon

Ann Gordon is broker/owner of Atmore Realty and Baldwin Realty Brokers – full service real estate companies. She has made her mark in the real estate business on a number of levels:

* Recipient of the Realtor Emeritus Award for dedication to the real estate profession for over 40 years, 1977-2017

* 42 years in real estate sales, marketing and management

* Sales and Marketing Director for two national homebuilders – The Mitchell Company, Mobile, Birmingham, and Pensacola; Ken Lokey Homes, Houston, Texas, Birmingham, and Nashville

* Developed housing program for disabled and elderly for Barrier Free Housing

* Managed properties rented to low income residents through Section 8 Housing

* Served as a consultant to a minority building company for federal and state assistance programs

* Served on HUD Advisory Council for the Southern Region during the terms of President Ronald Regan

* Served on Jefferson County, Alabama Planning and Zoning Board, Birmingham

* Served on Alabama Association of Realtor’s Board of Directors

* Graduate Realtor Institute of Alabama – Professional Designation (GRI) – The GRI symbol is the mark of a real estate professional who has made the commitment to provide a high level of professional services by securing a strong educational foundation.

* At Home With Diversity Certification – A program designed by the National Association of Realtors that addresses issues of diversity, fair housing, and cultural differences

* Sales Associate – Century 21, First Real Estate Corp. of Alabama, Lowder Better Homes and Gardens, RE/MAX. Ms. Gordon has received various sales awards for outstanding achievement in residential and commercial sales.

Other business experience includes Professional Office Management – United Appeal, Southern Research, Birmingham News Public Affairs, Birmingham Trust National Bank; First Baptist Church Center Point (Birmingham) – Director of Activities and Manager Activity Building.

Ms. Gordon’s service goes beyond her business; she is also active in other areas. She has volunteered in a literacy program to teach adults to read and write; taught Interior Design classes at Jefferson State College, Birmingham; currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the Atmore Community Foundation; member of First Baptist Church of Atmore; serves on Board of Directors and as past president of the Board for the Little Rock Volunteer Fire Department. She also serves as vice president, secretary/treasurer Peacock Enterprises, Peacock Pavers, and Enhance Architectural Products. Also, as owners of The Club, the Gordons are known for their generosity in providing the venue free of charge for a number of organizations through the years.

Ms. Gordon attended Escambia County public schools – Huxford Junior High School and Escambia County High School, graduating in 1966. Postsecondary education included the following:

* Alverson Draughn Business College – Business Automation (forerunner to computers)

* Jefferson State Community College (Birmingham) – degree in Interior Design

* University of Montevallo – additional studies, Home Economics

* Century 21 School of Real Estate – Alabama Real Estate License 1977 (Broker’s License)

* RE/MAX Management Training

* Alabama Real Estate Appraiser’s License – American Real Estate Institute (not licensed currently)

A native of Atmore, Ms. Gordon is the daughter of the late A.J. and Lucille Mitchell Peacock. She has been married to Don Gordon for 48 years, and they have one daughter, Dr. Amber Gordon (husband Brad Butler and son Alexander Butler).

“One of the greatest honors of my life was being able to come home and assist my parents for 25 years,” Ms. Gordon said. “Any success that I’ve ever had come from their love, direction, and encouragement.”

Her husband Don agrees: “The best thing that ever happened to us was moving back to Atmore.”


Novy L. Hale

For most of his adult life, Novy Lee Hale was employed by the Department of Corrections at Fountain Correctional Facility near Atmore.

He started out as a field guard riding a horse and guarding prisoners as they worked in farm fields.

Soon he became the “Dog Warden.” In this position, he trained bloodhounds to follow the scent of prisoners who escaped. He seemed to enjoy the position and really excelled. Well, the bloodhounds, horses and inmate handlers excelled under his leadership.

The family moved away from the other houses to the “dog yard.” The dogs lived in pens beside the Hale house. Mr. Hale used trusted prisoners to lay a sham trail on parts of the state land. Then later in the day, he used the dogs with prisoner handlers to practice finding those sham prisoners. His dogs became very good hunters. He was asked by other law enforcement organizations to help them locate fugitives throughout the state.

Next, Mr. Hale became Deputy Warden at Fountain. The family moved into a house which was with all the other houses in a line.

During this time, he was considered for the position of Fountain warden. After several years, the state commissioner moved him to Kilby prison in Montgomery. He was deputy warden of Kilby for one year. This prison was huge with many more prisoners. Also, Kilby had the electric chair. Mr. Hale did not believe in capital punishment. He believed every prisoner had good inside of them. No one should be electrocuted. He told the Commissioner his feelings and that he would not “pull the switch.”

Mr. Hale’s next move was to an “honor” camp near Montgomery where he was the warden. After two years there, he was awarded the warden position back at Fountain in Atmore. He was warden until he became too sick to work.

During his time as warden, Mr. Hale encouraged and enhanced the prison fellowship program started by Martin Weber. Also, Dr. James B. Thomas was recruited to assume medical duties for the prisoners.

Of course, Mr. Hale had a life away from the prison. He was a member of First United Methodist Church and was an active member of the Methodist Men’s Club. He was a member of the Rotary Club and initiated a Ruritan Club in the Huxford area.

On several occasions, he spoke to male students at Escambia County High School in an effort to explain the downside of a life of crime.

His daughter, Linda H. Peacock wrote this about her father:

“Novy Lee Hale was my daddy. He was very devoted to his work with prisoners. He never talked negatively about his job or any inmates.

“He showed them respect until they didn’t deserve it. He was fair but demanded respect. For 10-12 hours each day he dealt with convicted men but he wasn’t changed by that. When he came home, he was happy and just daddy.”

Following is an excerpt of the eulogy by the Rev. T. L. Butts, Jr.,  First United Methodist Church of Brewton, delivered November 16, 1970 at Novy Lee Hale’s funeral:

“For more than thirty years this man has stood ten feet tall in a dark, frightening, and ever-growing corner of our ‘sick society’ trying to rebuild the lives of social rejects; and being a friend to men whom most of us have been afraid to befriend. No matter how hard we try, we can never think of this large and lovable man, in life or in death, apart from the broken and twisted lives of the men he spent his life working to repair and redeem. As long as there was one man in prison, Novy Lee Hale could never be free. These men were his life. He had an instinct for handling them, living with them, and fishing the best out of them. He didn’t bat a thousand; but, after all, he was working with people upon whom most of us had given up – Novy never gave up on a man. And if security allowed it, and circumstances made it possible, these services  today would have to be held at the Stadium in order to accommodate the convicts and ex­convicts who would be here to pay tribute to ‘Cap’n Hale’ – one of the few men in prison work who could keep the respect of the people he had to keep locked up.”

In August 1971, the Alabama Legislature adopted a resolution extolling Hale’s contribution and extending sympathy to the family following his death.

A portion of the resolution follows:

“WHEREAS, Mr. Hale served the prison system of the State of Alabama and the people of this state faithfully, ably and well for over thirty years rising through the ranks from the position of ‘field guard’ to that of ‘warden’ of the Atmore Prison Farm and was highly regarded professionally and as a citizen active in the affairs of Escambia County, Alabama where he will be sorely missed by his family and a host of friends; now therefore

“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF  CONCURRING, That this body express to the family of Mr. Hale its sincere appreciation for the long and faithful service of Novy Lee Hale to the State of Alabama and its people and notes with profound sorrow the passing of Mr. Hale and extends its sincere sympathy to his sons, Clark Hale of McComb, Mississippi; Rodney Hale of Atlanta, Georgia; Douglas Hale of Atmore, Alabama; Donald Beasley of Pensacola, Florida; and to his daughters, Mrs. Sue Duncan, Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Mrs. Sandra O’Brian of Hawaii; and Miss Linda Hale of Atmore; and to his mother, Mrs. A. A. Hale of Atmore, Alabama and to his brother Mr. John Hale of Atmore, Alabama and to other members of his family…”

Novy Lee Hale died November 14, 1970.



Reverend Isaac Holt Jr.

The Reverend Isaac J. Holt Jr. has been called “A Servant of God Gifted with the Passion of Preaching.”

A native of Atmore, he is a veteran of the United States Navy, and while serving a tour of duty at the Naval Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was licensed to preach in 1986 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. After a duty transfer brought him to the former Navy base [Charleston Navy Base], he united with Morris Street Baptist Church where he served as an associate minister. In 1992, with the recommendation of his pastor, the Reverend Dr. A. R. Blake, he received his ministerial ordination.

Rev. Holt is a graduate of Morris College School of Religious Studies in Sumter, South Carolina, where he also graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management. He has received additional training at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. He currently serves on numerous community improvement councils and acts as advisory assistance to law enforcement. He serves as Chairman of the Royal Foundation Board, Trident Technical College Community Board, and is a former member of the Neighborhoods Energized to Win (N.E.W) Advisory Board. In addition, he serves on many other advisory boards in the Charleston area and surrounding communities.

Additionally, he has served the last five years as the annual Faith Community Drive Chairperson for the United Negro College Fund. He also serves on the Morris College Board of Trustees. He is Vice President Region One for The South Carolina Baptist E&M Convention and serves as the State Director for Disaster Management for the National Baptist Convention, USA Inc. He also serves as Executive Board Chairman of the Charleston County Baptist Association, an organization serving 31 local church congregations. He was awarded the 2010 Citizen of the Year Award by the Mu Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

In March of 1993, Rev. Holt was called by the congregation of Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston to serve as their pastor. God has prospered the Royal Church family, abundantly, by growing its membership of 200 to currently over 2000 under Rev. Holt’s leadership as pastor. The church has added 24 new ministries, which include community food and clothing banks that minister to more than 100 families a month.

In 2005, under Rev. Holt’s care and guidance, Royal completed the construction of a $3 million worship center for which they burned the mortgage in three years.

Rev. Holt also sits as Board Chairman for the Royal Foundation, which is the non-profit community development arm of the church that operates and funds after-school tutoring, GED classes, aerobic classes, computer training and many other classes open to the public and provided free.

God has truly blessed his gifts and continues to lift up and open doors for this ministry. Rev. Holt can be heard weekly on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. on the local Charleston area radio station, WJNI 106.3 on the FM dial.

Pastor Holt is in high demand throughout the country for revival preaching and speaking engagements.

He is married to the former Ms. Jannie Singleton of Charleston. They have one son, Isaac J. Holt, III, and the family resides in North Charleston, South Carolina.



Wayne Stacey

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Wayne Stacey has had a stellar career both in active military and in his service to veterans.

Mr. Stacey is an Atmore native and a 1961 graduate of Escambia County High School. He graduated from Auburn University in 1965 with a degree in Business Administration, and he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Butler University in 1976.

Mr. Stacey is a 1979 graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff College where he was awarded a Master of Human Behavioral Science Degree designation by the US Army.

He was an adjunct instructor with the University of Hawaii and Central Texas College in Business and Leadership and served as Department Chair and Professor of Military Science at Rider University.

Mr. Stacey’s military career began when he graduated from Auburn and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. His assignments included Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Harrison, Ind.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Vietnam; Okinawa, Japan; and South Korea.

His duties included Company Commander; 2 Battalion Commands; Deputy Brigade Commander; and numerous Staff Officer positions at Battalion, Corps, Army, and Joint Command levels. He served as Leadership Instructor in Army schools and served on numerous Army Task Forces developing various aspects of personnel and finance systems.

In 1991, Mr. Stacey retired from active duty with more than 25 years of service and 60 percent service-connected disability.

Mr. Stacey’s awards include Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 OLC, and Army Commendation Medal.

In business, he served as Director of Human Resources for Georgia World Congress Center Authority (Convention Center, Georgia Dome Stadium, and Centennial Olympic Park) from 1992 through 2004. He was co-owner and operator of a sporting goods retail store from 1995 through 2002.

Mr. Stacey has served his fellow veterans well through his service in the American Legion. He has been a life member of the Legion for more than 19 years.

He served as State Commander of Alabama American Legion 2014-2015 and previously served as Jr. and Sr. Vice Commander; five years as Alabama Department Membership Commission Chair; two years as Commander of Gulf Shores Post #44, 2008-2010, with more than 525 members; two years as Baldwin County Commander, 2009-2010; and 3d Division Commander, 2010-2011.

He currently serves as American Legion District 33 Finance Committee Chair and serves on numerous National and State-Level Committees, including Legislative, Americanism, Baseball and Boys State. He is a member of American Legion Riders Activity.

In addition, Mr. Stacey supports his wife Donna in her Legionnaire duties, including State Commander of Alabama American Legion in 2017-2018.

Other interests include membership in Sons of the American Legion Squadron 44, Disabled American Veterans Organization, and Vietnam Veterans Association Chapter 0864.

He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign War Post 7016, Atmore; a member of First Baptist Church, Gulf Shores; Associate Member of Marine Corps League; and a member of Military Officers Association of America.

Mr. Stacey has been married to Major (Retired) (USA) Donna Kay Stacey (nee Richey) for 35 years. They have five adult children and nine grandchildren. They have resided In Gulf Shores for 14 years.