John Bates Bostick
John Bates Bostick, longtime Alabama assistant basketball coach, born in Winfield, January 20, 1934, died January 2, 2021, at DCH Medical Center. John was a member of the 1952 state championship basketball team at Winfield High School and was a graduate of Florence State (now UNA) where he was the starting quarterback, point guard, and shortstop, winning 11 letters. As an Army officer he coached the Seventh Corps Jayhawks in Germany. He returned to Alabama and became head basketball coach at Sheffield and later Gadsden High Schools. He was brought to Alabama by C.M. Newton as an assistant basketball coach and earned his master’s degree at Alabama. Coach Bostick was an assistant coach at Alabama for 13 years. He joined Newton’s Vanderbilt staff where he served eight years, followed Newton to Kentucky where he was senior associate athletics director, and completed his professional career as senior associate AD at Villanova. Upon retirement in 1997 he and his wife, Betty Artis Bostick moved back to Tuscaloosa where they have been active members of the McCollum Sunday School class at St. Mark United Methodist Church. He was an honorary A-Club member and was inducted into the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame and University of North Alabama Athletics Hall of Fame and was SEC Co-Coach of the Year at both Alabama and Vanderbilt.
In addition to his wife of 49 years, he is survived by his sister Carol Hurst of Huntsville; sisters-in-law Mary Bostick of Gordo and Paula Highland of Florence; nieces and nephews Katy Dyer (Keith), Jack Bostick (Heather), Susan Lowery, Jeffery Hurst (Jenny), Beth Anderson, Bill Boley (Missy), Troy Highland (Melanie), Jennifer Jones (Lan); and numerous great nieces and nephews; and untold number of close friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Haskell Elwood Bostick, Sr., and Velda Bates Bostick; and his brother, H. E. Bostick, Jr.
Pallbearers will be Jack Bostick, Keith Dyer, J.B. Dyer. Zeb Dyer, Call Dyer and Chase Anderson. Honorary pallbearers are former athletics associates and players. Memorial gifts to St. Mark United Methodist Church, 1421 McFarland Blvd, Northport AL 35476; Big Oak Boys and Girls Ranch, P.O. Box 507, Springville AL 35146; or your favorite charity. Arrangements by Magnolia Funeral Home North. Graveside service was at Winfield City Cemetery, Wednesday January 6, 2021, at 11 a.m. with Rev. John Drawhorn officiating. A memorial service will be held later.
Jack Alexander Clayton
On January 4, 2021, one of the world’s best grandfathers was welcomed into Heaven by scores of family members who went before. Jack, known to his seven grandchildren as Papa Jack, was born on April 7, 1944 at Speed’s Old Water Mill in Pickens County. He graduated from Greene County High School where he met his sweetheart, Violet Drummond. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Livingston University (UWA) and later earned an AA (Double A) degree from the University of Alabama. He taught high school math for several years in both Greene and Pickens Counties before being appointed to the position for which he became known: principal. Jack served as Headmaster at both Warrior and Wilcox Academies from the early 1970s – 1986. After moving his family to Moundville, he served as principal of Hale County High School and then Northside High School before culminating his career in administration at Greensboro High School. Throughout his 40 plus years as an educator, he impacted the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of teachers, coaches, and support staff. Coach Clayton treasured the time he spent successfully leading many girls’ basketball teams to winning seasons with rare, yet entertaining, technical fouls along the way. First and foremost, Jack was a loving and proud husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, son, and friend. He worked with tireless devotion to provide for his family. Jack enjoyed fishing, hunting with his brother, watching SEC football (especially Alabama), collecting pocket knives, and working in his garden. Those close to him will forever remember the catchphrase Jack used to encourage someone (his daughters) to make good choices: “Remember who you are.” What they would not give to hear him say that just once more.
He is preceded in death by his father E. B. Clayton and his mother Emma Ilene Norris Clayton.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years Violet Drummond Clayton; his daughters Jodi Wilson (Tim), Jacki Owens (Trent), and Jan Boyanton (Tommy), his grandchildren Abbie Wilson, Hampton Wilson, Lillie Wilson, Allie Clare Wilson, Emalee Gann, Bradley Gann, and Jacob Boyanton; his brother Harold Clayton (Rachel); his sister Ann Tolbert (Jerry); 20 nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins.
Pallbearers were Tommy Boyanton, Jacob Boyanton, Brad Gann, Trent Owens, Hampton Wilson, and Tim Wilson. Honorary Pallbearers will be Brian Clayton, Ken Clayton, Clay Gibbs, Michael Strickland, Dan. B. Butler, Danny Matherson, Victor Scott, Jim Putman, Eugene Spencer, Richard McCray, George Massey, the Raymond Fields Sunday School Class at Moundville Baptist Church, and the former faculties and staffs of Warrior Academy, Wilcox Academy, Hale County High School, and Greensboro High School.
Visitation was held on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at Magnolia Chapel South for friends and family to pay their respects. Due to CDC regulations with regard to COVID-19, the immediate family will not be present at this time. A private graveside service was held at Shiloh Baptist Church in Ralph, on Friday, January 8, 2021. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Hale County High School Alumni Committee for the Jack Clayton Memorial Fund.
Caroline Balfour Phifer
Caroline Balfour Phifer, 90, died January 5, 2021 at DCH. Mrs. Phifer was the daughter of the late Caroline Muschat Fowlkes and James Gilbert Balfour, Jr. She was born February 9, 1930 in Marion, and later moved to Tuscaloosa after her marriage to Dr. Joe Phifer. It was in Tuscaloosa that she raised her family and found many life-long friends. Later in life, Mrs. Phifer lived vibrantly in Fairhope, a place she loved dearly, where she was an active member of Saint Francis at the Point Episcopal Church and several civic organizations. She was a beautiful woman with an even more beautiful soul who will be missed by friends and family. A fine storyteller in the best southern tradition, Caroline had a wonderful sense of humor and a quick wit. Few who knew her will forget her Black Belt Buzzard Lope.
Mrs. Phifer is survived by: her children Joseph Tyler Phifer, Jr. (Linda), James Balfour Phifer (Rita) and Caroline Phifer Carter (Bill) all of Tuscaloosa; grandchildren Joe Phifer (Amy), of Birmingham, Russell Phifer (Amanda), Brock Phifer (Jennifer), Neal Phifer, William Phifer (Julia) all of Tuscaloosa, Kathryn Carter of New York City and Tyler Carter (Brooke) of Birmingham; great-grand children Joe Phifer, IV, Mary Raynor Phifer, Miles Phifer, Ella Phifer and Ruth Phifer.
A private graveside service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to West Alabama Food Bank, or the charity of your choice.
Bobby Cornelius Rawlins
Bobby Cornelius Rawlins, 79, passed away January 1, 2021. Graveside services will be 2 p.m. Friday, January 8, 2021 in Memory Hill Gardens with Bro. Dan Hartsoe officiating and Memory Chapel Funeral Home directing.
Mr. Rawlins was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah Ann Turner Rawlins; parents Mary and Robert W. Rawlins; son Larry W. Sullivan; and sisters Ann Frazier, Linda Edgar, and Joan Easley.
He is survived by his daughter Cynthia Rawlins Lietch of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; granddaughter, Brittany Caitlin Golden of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; son-in-law Jason Lietch of Tuscaloosa; brother-in-law Jim Edgar of Moundville; and grand-dog, Saint.
Honorary pallbearers are: Caring Days of Tuscaloosa; the VA Medical Centers of Daytona Beach, Fla., Orlando, Fla., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Always There In-Home Care; Area Agency on Aging of West Alabama; Vitas Hospice Suites at Orlando Lutheran Towers; and special friend and caregiver, Yvonne Gay.
Dr. Donald J. Salls
Dr. Donald J. Salls of Fairhope died January 2, 2021. Dr. Salls was the oldest living University of Alabama football letterman at age 101, a beloved UA Alumnus, a decorated veteran of World War II and former head football coach at Jacksonville State University. Dr. Salls was a former long-time resident of Tuscaloosa and member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. A celebration of life will be held, January 20, 2021 at 3 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi church on the campus of the University of Alabama, 811 5th Ave., Tuscaloosa, with family visitation preceding at 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Salls is survived by: his loving wife of 33 years Diane Gainey Gatewood Salls of Fairhope; daughters Donna Rankin (Carlton) of Atlanta, Ga., Donald J. Salls, Jr. (Becky) of Homewood, Trisha Conyers (Eddie) of Tuscaloosa, and Cherie Schmitz (Scott) of Alton, Ill.; stepchildren Tracy Gatewood of Tuscaloosa, Mark Gatewood (Suzy) of Tuscaloosa; grandchildren Joseph Salls, George Elliot Salls, Adam Salls, Wright Gatewood, Celia Gatewood, Luke Gatewood, Justin Williams, Hayden Griess, and Beau Griess; and great grandchildren Jackson Williams, Griffin Williams and Salls Williams.
Dr. Salls was preceded in death by his father Harry Briggs Salls and his mother Mary Veronica McCormick of White Plains, N. York., and his first wife Margaret Ruger Salls.
A native of White Plains, New York, Dr. Salls received a football scholarship to the University of Alabama because his high school coach was a former roommate of Alabama assistant Harold (Red) Drew. He rode a bus from New York to Tuscaloosa and once recalled that it “seemed like another football player headed for the University of Alabama got on the bus at every stop along the way. I bet we had a hundred freshman out there my first year (1938)”, he stated. Although he said that he hated the heat, the smell of wild onions on the practice field and the stench of the local paper mill, Salls remained at UA and got into his first game as a sophomore in 1940 and quickly returned an interception for a 76-yard touchdown. He lettered at fullback and linebacker in 1941 and 1942, scoring eight touchdowns, including the only TD in a 9-2 victory over Tennessee in 1942. He helped the Crimson Tide to a 29-21 win in the January 1, 1942, Cotton Bowl and a 37-21 victory over Boston College in the January 1, 1943, Orange Bowl. Salls and practically every other member of the Alabama football team went into the military immediately after the Orange Bowl game. Salls trained at Fort Benning, Georgia and was shipped overseas for combat duty in France in the summer of 1944. Salls was wounded near Lamath, France on September 19, 1944, after sixty days of combat. He received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three battle stars and other medals and was promoted to captain before being honorable discharged in 1945. Salls returned to the University of Alabama in 1945 and earned a Master’s degree in 1946 before being hired as head football coach at Jacksonville State University, where he remained for 37 years. He earned a doctorate degree from New York University and was named a full professor at JSU in 1955. Salls was head coach at JSU for 19 seasons (1946-64) and posted a 95-57-11 record, winning seven conference championships and playing in four bowl games. After retiring from football, Salls continued to teach for another 18 years before his retirement. JSU awarded Dr. Salls the title of Professor Emeritus and named a building, Salls Hall, in his honor in 1969. Salls was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Westchester County (NY) Hall of Fame, the Football Foundation Hall of Fame, the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame and the Jacksonville State University Athletic Hall of Fame. He also received the University of Alabama National Alumni Association’s Paul W. Bryant Alumni Athlete Award in 2003 and received the Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award from the All-American Football Foundation Hall of Fame. In 1962, Salls pioneered a national program of isometric exercises known as XSXIM (Ten Static Exercises in One Minute) which were widely adopted and in 1995 authored a book, “Live and Love to Be 100” which promoted attitude, vitamins, and exercise as the way to a better and longer life. Don and his wife, Diane, met in 1986 and dated for two years before marrying. Don had other girlfriends and had to write five “Dear Jane” letters when he chose Diane. They were married for 33 wonderful years and she called him Dandy Don and he called her his beloved Lady Di. Don and Diane traveled and danced – oh how he loved to dance – and enjoyed attending football games at JSU and Alabama. They enjoyed their years together as Don proved the formula in his book “Live and Love to be 100” true with his ever-smiling attitude and genial disposition. To all that knew Don, he was the sweetest, kindest man in the world and always happy with a twinkle in his eye. What a precious man. He will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Dr. Donald Joseph Salls Scholarship Fund for Student Athletes, Jacksonville State University, 700 Pelham Road N, Jacksonville, AL 36265.
Mrs. Lela “Sut”
Mae Smith

It is with deepest sorrow that Lavender’s Funeral Service announces the passing of Mrs. Lela Mae “Sut” Smith, 78, of Aliceville, on Friday, January 1, 2021 at DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa. Public visitation was Friday, January 8, 2021, from noon until 4 p.m. at Lavender’s Funeral Service. The home going celebration was Saturday, January 9, 2021, 11 a.m. in Bigbee Baptist Church Cemetery, 2945 Co. Rd. 78, Aliceville. Apostle Jeffrey Ball, Sr., pastor of Spirit & Truth Pentecostal Church, was the eulogist. Lavender’s Funeral Service, Aliceville, 205-373-2420, directing.
Survivors are the Smith, Davis, Little, Phillips, and Scott families.
Mrs. Hattie Mae Sterling
It is with deepest sorrow that Lavender’s Funeral Service announces the passing of New Salem Baptist Church mother, Mrs. Hattie Mae Sterling, 91, of Aliceville, on Friday, January 1, 2021 at her residence. Public visitation was Friday, January 8, 2021, from 2-6 p.m. at Lavender’s Funeral Service. The home going celebration was Saturday, January 9, 2021, at noon at New Salem Baptist Church, 364 New Salem Rd., Aliceville. The body lay in state in the church one hour prior to the service. Internment wasin the New Salem Baptist Church Cemetery. Rev. Dr. Herman Peters, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church, was the eulogist. Lavender’s Funeral Service, Aliceville, 205-373-2420, directing.
Survivors are the Sterling family.