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Life Trustee T. Massey Bedsole Remembered as ‘A Great Man’

T. Massey Bedsole, a Life Trustee of the University of Mobile, attorney and World War II veteran whose life exemplified a commitment to God, family and service to his nation and community, died at his home Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011.

University of Mobile President Mark Foley said Bedsole was an “encourager” and “a great man of stature in our community.”

“The last time I saw him, he said, ‘I pray for you every day,’” Foley told the Mobile Press-Register.

Bedsole, 93, served as a trustee of the University of Mobile since 1969 and was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1979, then named a Life Trustee. Among his many contributions to the success of the University of Mobile is the Massey and Martha Bedsole Scholarship which provides scholarships for UMobile students.

A memorial service will be held at noon Tuesday, Jan. 4, at First Baptist Church on Government Street, followed by a visitation. A family graveside service will follow at 3:30 p.m. at Pine Crest Cemetery.

Bedsole, lawyer, civic, and business leader in Mobile, was born in Grove Hill, Ala., on Aug. 1, 1917, the son of Judge Travis Jesse and Mary Ellis Carmichael Bedsole. He received his bachelor's degree in 1939 and his law degree in 1941 from the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Sigma Chi, Phi Beta Kappa, Jason's, Omicron Delta Kappa, Farrah Order of Jurisprudence, Quadrangle, and Phi Beta Sigma.

Following graduation, he enlisted in the Naval Air Training Service as an apprentice seaman and was separated from service with the rank of lieutenant commander; he was assigned to the Pacific theater with service at Midway and Guadalcanal.

In 1946 he joined the law firm of Smith, Hand, and Arendall. Becoming a partner the next year, he practiced law with the firm which became Hand, Arendall, Bedsole, Greaves and Johnston. He was president of the Mobile County Bar Association in 1960 and frequently served as chairman of committees of the Mobile, Alabama, and American Bar Association.

For many years Bedsole has been an active member of First Baptist Church and was the first chairman of the Mobile Chapter of the Christian Business Men's Committee International.

In 1979 he was also elected a trustee of the University of Alabama and was named a trustee emeritus.. He was one of the original trustees of the Julius T. Wright School for Girls in Mobile and served in that capacity for eight years. In 1980 he became a member of the board of the Women's Hall of Fame.

He served as president of the Mobile County Community Chest and Council, 1956-58, and as chairman of the Distribution Committee of the J. L. Bedsole Foundation and co-Trustee of the J. L. Bedsole Welfare Trust. In 1974 he donated to the Mobile Historic Development Foundation a 19th century house which was moved into an historic district, and then he contributed the lot to the Red Cross.

Bedsole has been a director of the Alabama Power Company, the First National Bank of Mobile and First Bancgroup-Alabama, Inc. He was also a director of Bedsole Medical Companies Inc., Bedsole Investment Company, Alco Land and Timber Company Inc., the Travis Corporation, the Banner Corporation, Mobile Fixture and Equipment Company Inc., Bedsole Dry Goods Company, and BMK Realty Company.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Martha Oliver Jones; one son, Travis M. Bedsole Jr.; and a daughter, Curry Bedsole Adams; all of Mobile.

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