City loses Whitfield, respected servant

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Another valued community leader in Demopolis has passed away in recent days.

James Bryan Whitfield Jr., 85, of Demopolis, died Saturday at Baptist Medical Center Princeton in Birmingham.

He was known for his years of service to the Demopolis Rotary Club as president and in various capacities as an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church.

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He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the local Rotarians. Whitfield was serving on the board of trustees of Trinity church at the time of his death.

He was also known for his preservation efforts with the Marengo County Historical Society, serving as the president from 1960 to 1967 and helped them draw up the articles of incorporation.

He was on the board of directors of Commercial Bank and also served as president of the institution.

Whitfield was the first cousin of Demopolis Mayor Austin Caldwell. “To me he was what you think of when you hear the term, gentleman, in the true sense of the word,” Caldwell said. “I don’t know of anyone who asked him for help that he didn’t give it.”

He lived next door to Caldwell for 56 years. “It’s going to be strange not to have him walking down the driveway.”

He had a distinguished military career. He served as a Marine captain in the South Pacific in World War II. Tom Boggs said Monday that you would not know from his “mild mannered” demeanor the fierce fighting he saw in the war.

He practiced as an attorney in Demopolis with H.H. Harvey. He also worked with the estate of G.T. Brietling, who was his great uncle.

Services for Whitfield will be held today at 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church with burial in the Riverside Cemetery.