Alfred William “Bill” Tate was born Dec 16, 1912 at Newton, AL died July 4, 2011. His grandfathers served with the Confederate forces during the War Between the States. His Tate and Stanford ancestors established themselves in the United States before the American Revolution, and some served in that War.
Bill Tate graduated in 1929 from the Baptist Collegiate Institute, Newton, AL, moved to Louisiana and entered the Southeastern Louisiana College at Hammond. Two years later he transferred to Northwestern State University at Natchitoches graduating with honors in 1935 with an AB degree in English and Social Studies. After graduation, he returned to Dale County, AL and started teaching in the high school at Ozark. He taught for two years during which time he met and married Edna Thagard in 1936.
In 1937, he and Edna left for Washington, DC, and he began work with Woodward and Lothrop’s Department store and entered law school at George Washington University, graduating in June 1940 with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) degree. He took the DC Bar Exam that summer and passed the first time, a feat only 10% of those taking the test for the first time were able to accomplish. He has been a member of the DC Bar since 1941.
In 1942, during World War II, he entered US Government Service with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board as a Personnel Specialist and quickly rose to Personnel Officer. He later worked for the US Civil Service Commission as a Personnel Classification Specialist. In 1945 he left to enter the service. Following his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he entered the employment of the Veterans Administration and worked for that agency for the next 30 years, mostly in management positions.
While serving as a Foreign Affairs specialist in 1952, he was selected to go to the Veterans office in the Philippines as the Assistant Director. During his service in Manila, the VA funded the construction of the 720-bed Veterans Memorial Hospital, which was a gift from the US government to the Philippine government. For his service in the Philippines the US embassy awarded him a Meritorious Service Citation. After his return to the states, he became Director of the Veterans Office in Atlanta.
After retirement in 1976, he returned to his birthplace in Dale County, AL and made his home in Ozark. He was called on to head the Dale County Red Cross, to serve as President of the local chapter of the AARP, and to serve on and be Vice-Chairman of the Dale County Jury Commission. He organized and was the first President of the Ozark Chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. He also served on the board of Directors of the United Appeal and the Ozark Rotary Club. After Edna died, he moved to Putnam County, Georgia in 2003 and in 2010 to Greene County to be near his daughter. In 1982, with the cooperation of his brothers and sisters, Mr. Tate set up the Augustus Walter and Florence Stanford Tate Memorial Scholarship at Troy University in Troy, AL. Since that time more than 80 graduates of Dale County High School have received aid from the scholarship fund.
Bill was the last surviving child of Augustus Walter Tate and Florence Victoria Stanford. His parents founded The Baptist Collegiate Institute in Newton, AL. All his brothers and sisters graduated there. The school was in operation from 1898 to 1930’s and was the only school in operation in Dale Co. for a number of years. Bill and Edna were members of Center Ridge Baptist Church in Ariton for over 30 years. Bill Tate said that his greatest pleasure in life came from helping people. His motto was: “Help someone today, someone, along life’s way.”
Survivors include two daughters: Martha Tate Roberts and husband Durward Thomas (Tom) Roberts, Jr. of Greensboro, GA; Carol Tate Bufton and husband William Caudell Bufton of Hendersonville, TN; five grandchildren: William Thomas Roberts and wife Christine Marie Haskins of Alpharetta, GA and their children Sara Anne, Hope Elizabeth, and William Jackson; John Tate Roberts and wife Karen Lynn Whitehouse of Parker, CO and their children Alex Tate, Madison Lynne and Jordon Elizabeth; Michael Todd Roberts and wife Angela Marie Woods of Wadsworth, IL and their children Austin Samuel and Rachael Grace; David William Bufton and wife Kim Michelle Smith of Atlanta, GA and children Michelle Leann and Gabrielle Nicole of Cedarburg, WI; and Suzanne Michele Bufton and husband Joseph Fuller of Northport, AL and their children Carolyn Amelia and Brent Joseph.
McCommons Funeral Home (706-453-2626) 109 W. Broad Street, Greensboro, GA is in charge of arrangements. His body was cremated. Memorial services will be held at McCommons Chapel in Greensboro, GA on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM with visitation from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM and in Ozark, AL on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at Center Ridge Baptist Church, 3573 N. Highway 123, Ariton, AL 36311 at 10:30 AM with visitation from 9:30 AM until 10:30. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Troy University Tate Scholarship Fund, Troy University, 1120 US Hwy 231, Troy, AL 38082.