Long-Time West Alabama Newspaper Editor Dies
MILLPORT, Ala. — Barbara Ellen James Bobo, 71, lost her battle for life in this world and went to be with her Lord on Saturday, June 1. Barbara put up a good fight but finally succumbed to cancer, a battle she had been fighting for over a year.
She was born in Cedar Grove, Tennessee on July 25, 1941, to Connie James and Mary Lillian Jordan.
She was co-owner and publisher of The Gazette Newspapers (The West Alabama Gazette, since 1976 and The Northport Gazette, 1998).
Barbara had many accomplishments in her life. Personal achievements aside, she was probably most proud of the many people with whom she worked in both the private and political arena where she served as a mentor to many, leading and guiding them on the job and in their lives. Many whom she guided became high achievers in both business and in politics.
She was a dedicated political activist working in many campaigns.
Besides activity in local politics, she took part in state and national elections. She was the coordinator for West Alabama in the first campaign of Governor Fob James, served in the Peanut Brigade for President Jimmy Carter, traveling to New Hampshire and other states and lent her active support to President Bill Clinton and was involved in the first campaign of President Barrack Obama.
An active citizen, she was elected president of the Millport Chamber of Commerce and named the town’s Most Outstanding Citizen of the Year before being elected to the City Council in 1980. She served six years on the Council before being elected Mayor. She served five four-year terms as mayor. She was instrumental in getting recognition for her town of Millport and the surrounding area while she was mayor and helped bring industry, and a new consolidated school to the South Lamar area.
Other accomplishments during her tenure as mayor were:
* A sewer system,
* A new library,
* A city park
* A National Guard unit and armory,
* Three million dollars to begin the construction of a new school, South Lamar School
* A new water treatment system,
*A new regional resource building and municipal complex.
While co-publisher of The West Alabama Gazette with her husband, Peyton Bobo, the newspaper received numerous Alabama Press Association awards over the years.
Barbara not only loved the publishing business, she loved politics and was well known for her fierce devotion to “her” Democrats. She had many Democratic and Republican friends, state and nationally, and had served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention several times. Barbara always welcomed a good debate among her political friends.
Barbara was a regular guest on the PBS show For The Record, which featured respected news journalists from around the state, until the show went off the air.
On the wall in her office are plaques and framed certificates too numerous to mention, with Barbara as honoree. Some include Certificate of Appreciation, Horace H. Horn, Jr., St. Director USDA Rural Development; Honorary Member of the Lieutenant. Governor’s Staff, Bill Baxley and George Wallace; Certificate of Appreciation, for Outstanding Community Interest and Service with the Voter Education Project, Don Siegelman; National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, 4th Congressional District and was appointed Honorary State Auditor of Alabama by Jan Cook. She also received the West Alabama Regional Commission’s Cochran Award in 2000.
Barbara is survived by her husband, Peyton Bobo; two brothers, Robert James and Larry James, both of Jackson, TN and a sister, Carolyn A. Driver, Atlanta, Georgia; nephews Conrad and Adam and niece, Christie and the employees of The Gazette Newspapers, whom she never failed to mentor, help and give advice to.
Barbara was a member of the Millport Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 5, at 2 p.m. at the South Lamar School Auditorium., with open casket from 1 to 2 p.m.
Visitation will be Tuesday, June 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Dowdle Funeral Home, Millport.
Pallbearers are: Gary Beard, Mac Mayers, William A. Hollinger, Larry Driver, Bill Johnson and Dwight Mitchell.