Devoted Demopolite turns 90

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2005

DEMOPOLIS – One local man has had a lifetime of different experiences in Demopolis and throughout the world. Sam Mike Sayers was born and raised in Demopolis, and on his 90th birthday, he is still here.

Sayers was born on Aug. 18, 1915. He currently lives at the Willows Retirement and Assisted Living Residence of Demopolis.

Growing up, he earned his spending money by running a trotline to catch fish which he sold to local cafes.

In 1933, he graduated from Demopolis High School.

For one year after graduation, he worked with the Corp of Engineers on the river. During his childhood, his father was a lock master on the river. In 1940, Sayers married Elizabeth Bobo. The couple had one daughter, Beth. His wife and daughter have both passed away.

Also during 1940, Sayers began attending college in Birmingham at Howard College, now known as Samford University. In 1942, he was called on by the Army to serve overseas during World War II.

Initially, he served in a base post office which coincidentally was shelled during his time there. After his tour ended, he returned to Demopolis and completed his degree at Livingston University, now known as the University of West Alabama. In 1945, he joined the 205th Translating Unit of the Army Reserve.

In 1950, Sayers was put on active duty, and went to Fort Riley, Kan. He was assigned to a POW interrogation unit. Sayers said he wanted to get out of the unit because he couldn’t speak a foreign language and didn’t want to stick around long enough to learn.

His commanding officer transferred him to the 525th Military Intelligence Service Group in Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served until 1952 when he was discharged.

After his years of military duty, Sayers worked in Demopolis as a postal clerk for the post office. During his time there, he work with Steele Partridge.

Sayers said he and Partridge farmed a piece of land and raised cattle together in French Creek. He also farmed land on Highway 80 near the paper mill.

In 1970, Sayers retired from the post office and began teaching school at Demopolis High School. For ten years, he taught English and remedial reading. He went on to teach GED night classes as well.

Sayers said he really enjoyed teaching. He is still an avid reader, with stacks of books around his room at the Willows. For his birthday, he received two new books, “The 100 Best Poems of All Time” and “Younger By the Day.” Sayers and other Willows residents patronize the Marengo County Book Mobile when it visits the Willows.

Sayers is also a big fan of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team. He has a Paul W. “Bear” Bryant houndstooth cap on his TV and other Tide paraphernalia around his room. Sayers said he looks forward to watching Alabama play this season. Though he can no longer attend games in Tuscaloosa, he’ll be watching them on TV.

For his birthday on Thursday, Sayers spent the day with his family. His sister, Margaret Carter, held a get-together at her home.

Attending were Dora Helen McAlpine, Sayers’ sister; Bill Bobo, Sayers’ brother-in-law, and Bobo’s wife, both of Fayette, with their two sons, Bo and Mike; and Mrs. Jim McAlpine. Another of Sayers’ in-laws, Doug, grilled polish sausages at Sayers’ request.

In his lifetime in Demopolis, Sayers said the biggest change has been the new people who have moved to town. “Demopolis was a plain country town,” he said, “The rivers held the town together.”

Sayers has attended the First Baptist Church of Demopolis since 1930. After he is gone, he hopes to be remembered as a Christian and a Southern Baptist.