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Spotlight on Sports: A Tribute to Paul Sarvis

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This story via Coach Earl Lewis

A few weeks ago I attended the funeral of a local gentleman who I have respected and admired for many years, and he should never be forgotten by Sylacaugans.  During services for Mr. Paul Sarvis, Jr., Reverend Byron White called him a hero, and that was a fitting description.  Sarvis was part of what is commonly called the “greatest generation” having served our country in World War II.  Unfortunately, we are losing that generation at a rapid rate, and they will all be gone before long. All of the men and women who fought in that war can rightly be called heroes, and Paul Sarvis wore the mantle of the “Greatest Generation” and the title of “Hero” well.

Now, if you are wondering why Sarvis is appearing on the sports pages, I’ll tell you.  Prior to his passing away recently at age 94, he was the oldest living Sylacauga Aggie letterman.  Sarvis played all sports at SHS and was a part of one of the most successful eras in Aggie football history under the leadership of legendary coach, Zeke Kimbrough.  From 1939 through 1942 when Sarvis was part of the Aggie football program, SHS won 29, lost 3, and tied 5.  During that period, the Aggies lost to Comer 13-9 in 1939 and then beat the Tigers 38-0, 13-0, and 26-7 over the next three seasons.  As a senior in 1942, Sarvis was the quarterback and team Captain.  With him at the controls, Sylacauga compiled a 7-1-1 record.

The Sarvis family moved to Sylacauga in 1937 to open a lumber business, and since then the family has positively impacted Sylacauga in many ways.  After graduating from SHS in 1943, Sarvis attended API (Auburn) for awhile, but WWII interrupted, and he became a fighter pilot in the old U.S. Army Air Corps. He returned to Auburn to graduate after the war.

Returning home, he married into the well-know family of Dr. A.K.

Whetstone. His wife, Nell, died several years ago. He owned a hardware store for many years, served on the City Council, and taught Sunday School at the First Methodist Church. He had an extensive collection of many types of memorabilia. He enjoyed good health until early this year when he moved to the Bill Nichols Veterans Home in Alex City.  In spite of being in the Veterans Home, he was able to attend an annual reunion of old Sylacauga and Comer football players last June where he was the oldest and most interesting man there.

Mr. Sarvis is survived by sons John of McCalla and Paul III of Sylacauga.


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