July 7, 1946 - May 22, 2020 Katherine (Kitt) Farr Conner, a near life-long resident of Auburn, Alabama, was born to the late John H. Farr, II and Katherine "Katie" L. Farr in Lee County, Alabama, on July 7, 1946. She passed away on Friday, May 22, 2020 due to complications resulting from an earlier stroke. Kitt is preceded in death by her mother and father, as well as by her daughter, Helen Conner Arnold. She is survived by her two sons, James (Jay) A. Conner, Jr. (Crysten), Lee Michael Conner (Tracy); seven grandchildren, Nealy Conner, Madeline Conner, Lee Conner, Jr., Conner "Bo" Arnold, Travis Arnold, Jackson Arnold, Chandler Martin; her four siblings, John Farr (Totsie), Angie Denning, Jean Atkinson (Ken), Herb Farr (Sandy), and many nieces and nephews. Kitt was a trained architect, having graduated from Auburn University as an adult student, while balancing school and mothering three children. She was a uniquely talented artist and she loved creating character costumes for the City of Auburn annual Christmas Parade. Kitt was a PTA President, a Chamber of Commerce Board President, an avid supporter and Board Member of the Auburn Heritage Association, a former member of the Auburn Historic Preservation Commission and volunteer at the AUMC Food Pantry. She could create most anything and had the greenest of thumbs. Due to current health concerns, a private graveside service has been planned. A later celebration of Kitt Conner's life, for the benefit of her friends and family, will be scheduled on a date to be determined in July.
August 19, 1949 - May 13, 2020 Sandie McCall passed away on May 13th at her home in Notasulga, surrounded by friends and family after a brief illness. She was born in Mobile, Alabama, to Rupert and Mildred McCall and is survived by three brothers and one sister, by her daughter Taylor, who now lives in Washington, D.C., by her step-daughter Jennifer Shelby Walker, who lives in Burnet, Tx, and her husband of forty years, Richard Shelby. She was a graduate of Mary Montgomery High School in Mobile, and a graduate of Auburn University, earning a B.S. in education. She spent her career managing surgical offices in the Auburn-Opelika area, and her retirement running an equine boarding facility at her home. A harmonica virtuoso, she loved Bluegrass music and would sit in with local bands when they performed. Her animal companions continue to live happily on the farm she loved in Notasulga. She will be remembered by her many friends at an event celebrating her life, to be announced at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or other remembrances, individuals should contributions can be made in her name to local or national Democratic candidates.
August 4, 1925 - May 14, 2020 Albert J. (Al) Smith, Jr. was born on the 4th of August 1925, in Montgomery, Alabama. His mother, Katherine Park Samford Smith, originally from Troy, Alabama, was a school teacher before becoming a full-time mother. His father, Albert Sr., was a bank examiner, originally from Brewton, Alabama. After graduating from Sidney Lanier High School, Al matriculated to Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University. He joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and quickly developed a life-long love for all things Auburn. After an 18-month hiatus for service in the U.S. Navy, in which he received a commission in 1945, Al graduated from Auburn in 1947 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Fast forward almost 70 years, when Al attended the graduation of his grandson, Albert IV, from the University of Virginia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. After the awarding of diplomas to graduates in more than a dozen different engineering disciplines, Al was asked if Auburn had offered all of those when he was in school; he replied, "Hell no; we had to learn it all." While at Auburn, Al reconnected with Jule Collins, whose family had briefly lived close to his during his childhood. His wit and generous nature may have been part of what enabled him to court her successfully, and they began their lifelong marriage in September of 1948. Upon graduation, Al accepted an offer from Westinghouse Electric Corporation. He and his bride, spent their honeymoon on the road to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the first of many, many trips they would take together. After a short tour of duty there, Al was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, and then, in 1951, to Houston, which would be their home for the rest of their lives. Al thrived as a young sales engineer selling large industrial motors and other equipment to the growing industries on the Texas Gulf Coast. He and Jule made many lifelong friends at Chapelwood United Methodist Church and in the Memorial neighborhoods where they lived and raised their three children, J'Anne, Bert and Bill. In 1969, when his oldest child was just starting college and he and Jule were only eight years into a 30-year mortgage, Al resigned from his management position at Westinghouse to undertake the audacious challenge of starting a new business in what was an entirely new industry, the independent power industry. Al's courage and optimism were magnetic, and enabled him to attract some excellent co-venturers. The very first project designed, constructed and operated by the new Power Systems Engineering became the largest and most energy-efficient of its kind in the world at that time, providing 300 megawatts of electrical output to The Dow Chemical Company. That success attracted the attention of many other companies. While the energy shocks of the '70s increased the importance of energy efficient power production, they also produced an economic malaise that slowed the long-term corporate commitments required for major capital projects. In the late '70s, however, new federal legislation added incentives and restrictions that significantly reshaped the electric power industry and cleared a path along which Power Systems could run. Al was ready, and he led a capable and growing team to storm ahead. The mantra of this young firm became three-fold: have fun, make a fair profit through innovation, and contribute to the greater good! By 1989, when Al was named the Executive of the Year by Independent Power magazine and elected Chairman of the National Independent Energy Producers, PSE Inc. (as the company was then known), was one of the largest and best-regarded in the industry. Coincidentally, that was the year in which Al, Jule and the other shareholders agreed to sell PSE to The Dow Chemical Company one month after his 64th birthday. Al and Jule shared a love for travel. Even while building PSE, they took many trips with friends and family and left their family with a legacy of great adventures and precious memories. They also shared a love for art. To honor his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary, Al surprised Jule by announcing that he had committed a substantial gift to Auburn to enable it to build the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Not only would this become the only accredited university art museum in Alabama and attract more than 500,000 visitors since opening, through its outreach and educational programs, it became a transformational enrichment opportunity for thousands of public school children as well as university students and area residents. Al and Jule gave generously to expand educational opportunities at Auburn in other ways as well. Through the private foundation they established, they funded scholarships, fellowships and professorships for scores of worthy recipients in the schools of engineering and education. Al loved people and likely never met a stranger. He thoroughly enjoyed being a member of The Houston Country Club and the Executives Association of Houston, both of which enabled him and Jule to establish many warm, long-lasting friendships. He was also an active member and always a faithful supporter of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston. After struggling for several years with congestive heart failure, Al joined Jule in heaven on Thursday, the 14th of May 2020. He is survived by his daughter J'Anne Rawson and her husband Jeff; his son Bert and his wife Gwen; his son Bill and his wife Monica; his grandson Whitten Stuckey and his wife Brooke; his granddaughter Katie Rushing and her husband Davis; his granddaughter Abigail Zamorano and her husband Oscar; his granddaughter Eleanor Chaney and her husband Tyler; his grandson Albert IV and his wife Kathryn; his granddaughter Michelle Austin and her husband Will; his granddaughter Katherine Smith, who is also an Auburn graduate; and by his five adoring and adorable great-grandchildren, Whitten and Mossie Stuckey, and Radley, Willie and Abel Rushing. The family wishes to thank Al's amazing caregivers, Chantal Murebwayire, Shronda Williams, and Bunmi Dasaolu; his longtime and tireless personal assistant, Linda Ghignone; the caretakers of his ranch, Virginia and Florencio Vega; and the family "kitchen psychiatrist" for more than 60 years, Johnnie Mae Simpson. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in memory of Al be directed to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, 901 S College St, Auburn, AL, 36849. Geo H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors of Houston, TX 713-789-3005, www.geohlewis.com
Funeral services for Mr. Eddie Michael Warlick, age 70 of Opelika, was held on Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 4:00 P.M. at Mt. Carmel Cemetery with Pastor Benny Yates officiating. Mr. Warlick passed away on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at the East Alabama Medical Center. A longtime resident of Lee County, he was the son of the late Eddie Warlick and Alice Norman Warlick Foster. Mike worked for Flowers Bakery and Ampex for a combined 40 plus years. He is survived by his wife, Joyce Kraus of Opelika; his sons: Kevin Warlick of Opelika, Paul Warlick of Opelika and Benjamin Kraus of Arkansas; his sister, Brenda Gilliam of Columbus, MS; six grandchildren: Courtney Warlick, Ansley Warlick, Mason Warlick, Icess Kraus, Chace Kraus and Zayne Kraus; three great-grandchildren: Caden Wyatt, Colleen Weslynn Piper and Wrenley Ryann McDaniel; and many other friends and family. Other than his parents he is preceded in death by a grandchild Madison Warlick. Pallbearers were Bart Marler, Phillip Moore, Danny Moore, Terry Moore, Joel Moore and Tim Christian. Benefield Funeral Home of Lineville benefieldfuneralhome.com