Former police officer seeks to unseat Sheriff Parnell

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75 YEARS AGO - 1943

June 26 - July 2

Staff Sgt. William E. Bell, 24, of Sumter, is one of 37 officers and 50 enlisted men to receive the Air Medal at a base in the Caribbean area for meritorious achievement while participating in long-range ocean patrol flights.

- South Carolina motorists getting rationing certificates for Grade III tires will soon be able to buy some of 1,500,000 "emergency" used tires made available by rubber director William M. Jeffers for rationing as spares, it was announced by the state Office of Price Administration. Selling for $1, plus the rationing certificate and branded with an "O" pressed into the sidewall to identify them, these "emergency" tires may be purchased from regular dealers. None of the "O" branded tires are to be recapped prior to sale.

- Burton M. Hovey Jr., who left his post as commanding officer of Shaw Field, was the guest of city officials at a barbecue dinner at Yank's Place. Col. Hovey was presented a handsome watch by Mayor F.B. Creech, who was toastmaster at the farewell dinner, on behalf of the residents of Sumter. ... A special guest was Maj. William A. Thompson, who was awaiting a new assignment after having attended the Army's Staff and General Command school.

- The Boyle Construction Co. of Sumter was awarded an Army contract amounting to more than $50,000 during the period from June 19 to 21, headquarters, Fourth Service Command announced. The contract calls for the construction of a rifle range in Greenville County, and the work will be supervised by the Army Engineers office in Charleston. The cost was designated as from $50,000 to $99,999.

- Henry Shelor and Gene Moses were scheduled to play in the semi-finals of the annual Coca-Cola golf handicap tourney with the winner meeting Ryan Kennedy either Sunday or Monday. The three golfers are the survivors in the qualifying field of 19. Others who qualified were: Luther Wimberly, N.E. Osteen, Dr. C.R.F. Baker, W.O. Staley, B.H. Love Jr., A.T. Heath Jr., H.A. Hickson Jr., Isadore Denmark, Frank Girard, R.G. Rae, J.P. Lawson, Frank Thorne Jr., H.Q. Heath, Ray Penny, F.M. Moise and F.A. Cribb Jr.

- C.W. Blessley, who this week assumed command of Shaw Field, has been a flyer for more than 25 years and is credited with destroying four enemy planes over France in World War I. Like Lt. Irvin Shaw, the Sumter flyer for whom Shaw Field is named, Col. Blessley served with the Royal Air Force in 1918 and went to France a month after the Sumter pilot met his death there. He was assigned to the 60th Squadron and served until September 1918 when he was wounded in action. In his last engagement, Col. Blessley shot down one plane after being wounded and was awarded the Purple Heart for a wound coupled with valor.

- Mayor F. B. Creech issued a proclamation designating July 5 as War Bond Rally Day in Sumter and urging residents of the city to cooperate by buying bonds as liberally as possible. On that day, a bicycle parade and races will be held, beginning at 5 o'clock, and at 7:30, United States District Attorney Claude N. Sapp of Columbia will address a gathering from the courthouse steps.

- In one of the longest and closest golf matches ever played at the Sunset Country Club, Gene Moses defeated Henry Shelor on the 36th hole to win the right to meet Ryan Kennedy in the finals of the annual Coca-Cola Handicap tourney. Finishing the 35th hole all even, Moses scored a birdie on the 36th hole to win the match. Moses had to give Shelor seven strokes in the handicap play having a 79 against Shelor's 87.

50 YEARS AGO - 1968

Feb. 25 - March 2

With the 6-A Conference Championship once again in mind this year, Manning's girls took their third straight tourney victory, downing favored Southside 46-40. As the other teams lost ground in the competition, the Manning girls are still undefeated in the double elimination tourney at the Southside gym as the affair nears its conclusion. Giving their usual outstanding performances Gay Herlong and Deloris McCord paced their squad with 18- and 17-point efforts respectively.

- Morris College, in cooperation with the National Urban League and funded by the Ford Foundation, will hold a two-day New Career Opportunities Session. Orientation will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Wilson-Booker Science Building. The general assembly will begin at 11 a.m. in E.D. White Memorial Hall. Participating on this program will be Rev. Bert D. Lewis, college minister; the Morris College Choir; Dr. Anna D. Reuben, conference chairman; and Dr. H.E. Hardin, acting president.

- M.B. Randle of Cities Supply Co. was recognized in the March issue of "Willing Water," a national publication of the American Water Works Association, along with others, for his long-time interest in water and its uses. Randle, who has operated his firm in Sumter since 1940, has been named a life member of the American Water Works Association.

- R.D. "Jack" Farmer, 38, a former city policeman, officially began his campaign to unseat incumbent Sheriff Byrd Parnell. In announcing his candidacy, Farmer issued a lengthy statement calling for "a firmer grip of the crime problem ... on the local level to prevent federal intervention," criticizing the five escapes from the county jail and urging better guidance to young people as a means of preventing crime. Farmer is a Georgia native and has lived in Sumter for the past 20 years. He was a member of the city police department for four-and-a-half years before resigning to run for sheriff.

- City council approved the general concept of a new $461,657 civic center plan and authorized the Housing Authority to proceed with plans for the first phase, a $135,000 pedestrian mall near the new library.

- Sumter was represented at the 13th-annual Conference of the South Association of Credit Women-International by Mrs. Harold Wright, president of the Sumter Club, Mrs. Wilbur Ardis, past club president. Mrs. William Henry, past state president and Betty Pritchard, newly elected second vice president of the state association. Also attending from Sumter was Bill Dendy, sponsor, and Wilbur Ardis. Other special guests were Mrs. Beulah Sullivan of Burlington, North Carolina. Dixie Council President Earline Lonquist, also of Burlington, recording secretary of Dixie Council, and Florence Austin of Greenville, second vice president of the Dixie Council.

- In a nip-and-tuck battle from start to finish, Lake City's Panthers edged Hillcrest, 55-51, to eliminate the Wildcats from the conference 6-A tournament at the Southside gym. Neither team held more than a five-point lead throughout the contest. Currie Fun sparked the Panthers with 14 points and put Lake City ahead by one by making two free throws with two minutes remaining in the contest.

- Sgt. John P. Pringle, a native of Sumter, was selected the "Outstanding Sergeant" for the period of July 1 to Dec. 31, 1967, while assigned to the 295th Military Police Company at Seneca Army Depot, Romulus, New York. Col. Howard Metzer, depot commander, presented him with a trophy and a $25 savings bond. He entered the service in September of 1964 at Fort Jackson and took basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

- Sgt. Jimmy Hutley, dock chief with the 4414th Combat Crew Training Squadron, was elected "Maintenance Man of the Month," for the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. A native of Sumter, Sgt. Hutley came to Shaw in June 1967 from Korat AB Thailand, where he was a crew chief on the F-105 Thunder chief. The sergeant was cited by his supervisor for his ability in scheduling maintenance, equipment and work facilities to prevent bottlenecks in inspections on the RF-101.

- Thomas Edward (Tommy) Wilson, 56, a Sumter County grain dealer and real estate operator and a newcomer to politics, announced that he will seek to unseat U.S. Rep. Tom Gettys in the June Democratic Primary. In making his announcement, Wilson said, "The Fifth Congressional District has a good congressman. I cannot find anything wrong with him. I just think I can do the job better."

- Col. Felix "Doc" Blanchard, 43, one of the Army's all-time football greats, flies an F-105 Fighter-bomber out of Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. "Mr. Inside" in the famed West Point backfield during unbeaten seasons in 1944, 1945 and 1946 has logged several missions "inside" North Vietnam as an Air Force pilot. His family was staying in Sumter while he was overseas.

- Martha Stoddard and Grady Locklear of Edmunds High School were named Sumter County's Star Student and Teacher, respectively, at a recent special academic recognition banquet. Miss Stoddard, a native Sumterite, plans to be a premedical student in college next year, was chosen for her academic ranking in the Edmunds senior class and her outstanding score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. She chose Locklear as the teacher who most contributed to her education, praising him for enthusiasm he exuded as an adviser to the high school newspaper and literary magazine and as an English teacher.

- After a tight first half, Coach John Thames' strong Manning girls simply walked away from a dejected Southside team in the second half, to take the 6-A conference crown after their 43-28 victory in the Southside gym. Weak foul shooting in the first half told the story, but some sparkling outside shots by Gay Herlong, who paced the Monarchs with a tremendous 23-point effort, and some tough lay-ups by Deloris McCord, who scored 17 points, broke the contest wide open in the final half.

25 YEARS AGO - 1992

Nov. 27 - Dec. 3

- Johnny Jackson had no idea he would end up investing his hard-earned money in drug dealers and an assortment of criminal elements. But in 1975, he began doing just that by becoming Sumter County's first bail bondsman. Ever since, he has made his living by making loans to suspected criminals who want to pay their way out of jail. Eighteen years ago, Jackson closed shop at his two downtown office supply stores in search of something more exciting. And according to him, his reign as owner of the J&J Bail Bond Co. has brought more excitement that he ever bargained for.

- Special teams' mistakes put Hillcrest in an early hole, and a talented Hartsville defense kept the Wildcats bottled up for most of the evening as the Red Foxes held on for a 14-12 win in the 4 Division II lower state championship game at the Hartsville field. The game began on an ominous note for Hillcrest when Marc White fumbled the opening kickoff and was swarmed under at the Wildcat seven-yard line.

- For the first 1 quarters of the 4A Division I lower state championship football game between Sumter and Spring Valley, it looked like a replay of the Gamecocks' 34-0 loss to Hillcrest to end their regular season. The final four minutes of the first half was a repeat of the SHS's 31-14 win over Summerville. The second half just looked like a hard-hitting football game. What it looked like when all was said and done though was a 31-14 Gamecock victory to send the Gamecocks to the state championship contest for the third consecutive year.

- Dr. W.H. Neal will speak during this year's annual Pre-Christmas Worship service. Neal is the chairman-emeritus of the Morris College Board of Trustees and pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Hopkins. The program will be held in the W.H. Neal-Iola Jones Auditorium.

- The Sumter High School Symphonic Band will travel to the "Windy City" to perform center stage with musical giants from across the United States in the 1993 National Concert Band Festival. Band members and directors Joe Allison and Brian Lambeth are gearing up for this prestigious festival, which drew applications from award-winning high school concert bands from throughout America. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Allison. "This is the kind of honor high school band directors dream about."

- An exquisite rendition of the "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" highlighted the Sumter Civic Chorale's program Tuesday at Patriot Hall. The composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams was, in fact, the centerpiece of a crown of musical gems that comprised the middle section of the hour-long concert The entire concert, labeled "We Give You Music," was a showcase of peerless talent. Pat Veltre and Julie Dwight divided the conducting duties and both, as usual, were in full control of their material and musicians.

- Sumter School District 2's newly elected trustees will be sworn in, taking office after a month-long series of election appeals. Trustee Naomi Sanders, Trustee Elizabeth Kilgore, Elizabeth Kyler and Roland Robinson will take the oath of office in a meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m. at the district office. The four, elected during the Nov. 3 general election, will join the board after the current trustees complete their last remaining duties.

- Sumter High jumped out to a 22-point halftime lead and then held off a mild Furman uprising in the fourth quarter to claim a 86-67 win over the Indians in the Sumter High Tipoff Classic Tuesday night at the Sumter High gym. Furman and Sumter played on even terms for the first five minutes of the contest, with the Gamecocks holding a 12-10 lead. A jumper by Chris Carter, a free throw by Heyward McFadden and a three-pointer by Clifton Howard, however, increased the Sumter lead to 18-10.

- What is Tom Lewis' secret? Over the past three seasons, Sumter High School has compiled a 37-7 record and is preparing this week for its third consecutive visit to the 4A Division I state championship. The Gamecocks will be making their fifth championship appearance in the last eight years when they step onto the field at Williams-Brice Stadium against Gaffney. Is it the uniform? "It's a tradition," Lewis admitted. "We explain that when you are wearing a Sumter uniform you have a tradition to carry on. Many of the players who have played for us over the past 10 years have graduated to the next level and been successful."

Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at waysammy@yahoo.com or (803) 774-1294.