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Look Back … to deaths of prominent citizens, 1945


A front-page story in 1941 notes that the start of public school has been delayed a week because of the presence of widespread and dangerous illness in the community -- in this case, polio.

Sept. 11, 1945, in The Star: George Hoke Rowan Jr., age 79, prominent Alabama resident, died shortly after midnight this morning at his home on South Pelham Road, Jacksonville. Funeral services are to be held in the Episcopal Church in that city, pending the arrival of Mr. Rowan’s daughter, Mrs. T. E. Kilby Jr. of Anniston, who is returning from Canada. Mr. Rowan was born in St. Clair County but was brought to Jacksonville as a small boy. He was a businessman in the cotton industry. Besides Mrs. Kilby, two other daughters and one son survive Mr. Rowan, as does his wife, Mrs. Julia Gunter Rowan.

Also this date: Calhoun County lost one of its foremost business and political leaders last night in the death of John F. Williams, who passed away at Anniston Memorial Hospital. A funeral will be conducted tomorrow afternoon at the church he faithfully supported, First Methodist in Anniston. Mr. Williams was born in Weaver in 1876 and moved to Anniston in 1903. The better part of his career was spent in the management of money, in both the private and public sector. Starting in 1924 he served three 4-year terms as Calhoun County tax collector. Two different local banks also benefited from Mr. Williams’ expertise at different times. Three daughters and two sons survive him.

Sept. 11, 1995, in The Star: A video that’s to be released around Thanksgiving will show scenes in and around the Amtrak train depot on West 4th Street in Anniston. The national rail company is creating the video and will use it to help persuade other Amtrak cities to undertake renovations of their stations. Anniston was chosen as one of several “stops” on the video because officials from different local agencies here are working together to try to secure a major federal grant to renovate the station and its annex.