Civic leader Enoch Northcutt passes

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Longtime business and civic leader Enoch Northcutt passed away Friday after a brief hospitalization for a hip fracture. He was 87 years old.

Northcutt served as a Vanity Fair plant manager for 35 years, having managed the plants in Butler, Jackson and Demopolis.

Northcutt was active in the Demopolis Rotary Club and Trinity Episcopal Church, and had served on the Demopolis City Schools board.

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Local attorney Tom Boggs was Northcutt’s neighbor for many years.

“His daughter and my son were the same age and lifelong friends,” Boggs said. “In my opinion, Enoch Northcutt was one of the guys that rode around with a white hat. He was a good guy.”

Former mayor Austin Caldwell also lived near Northcutt on Rembert Street.

“He was one of those people you meet and know instantly that you like them,” Caldwell said.

City attorney Richard S. Manley remembered Northcutt as a valuable citizen of Demopolis.

“He was an asset to the community,” Manley said. “He was always a leader and a popular plant manager.”

Demopolis physician Paul Ketcham recalled Northcutt as always doing what was right.

“He made decisions that weren’t always popular, but they were always right,” he said. “He was an outstanding member of our community.”

Northcutt served in the U.S. Army in Europe as an infantry officer during World War II and received two Purple Hearts. He and three other soldiers escaped from a German prison to Great Britain, where he met his future bride, Mary, in Wales.

“I have such tremendous respect for his World War II record, for both being in combat and escaping,” Boggs said. “That has always enthralled me about him.”

Northcutt was also known for his fast-pitch softball skills.

“I knew him both as a longtime friend and a fierce competitor when it came to the softball league,” Caldwell said, “but I know he always played for the enjoyment of the game.”

Northcutt touched many lives and influenced many people through his role as Vanity Fair plant manager in Demopolis.

Current Robertson Banking Company head bookkeeper Debbie Foxhall began her career with Northcutt at Vanity Fair. He hired her in the payroll department as a payroll clerk and she eventually became the head of the department.

“He was a man of excellence,” Foxhall said. “He demanded excellence out of our work and he wanted quality.”

Foxhall also remembers Northcutt as being very interested in people.

“My mother was hired to work in the mill by Mr. Northcutt 20 years before he hired me in the payroll department,” Foxhall said. “I’ve heard her say he would go out in the mill and mingle. He would greet the workers in the mornings. They weren’t numbers to him; they were employees that he cared about.”

Northcutt’s passionate involvement in the Rotary Club touched those he worked with professionally as well. Foxhall remembers making signs and flyers for the Rotary Club’s Crippled Children’s Golf Tournament with the other office employees.

“He felt like he and Vanity Fair should be involved in the community, and they were,” Foxhall said. “There was a sense of family there. Everyone felt close and connected with each other.”