Jim Flemming moved to Tuscaloosa in 1985 as City President of what was then SouthTrust Bank and immediately immersed himself into serving the West Alabama community.
A graduate of the University of Alabama and Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rudgers University, his banking career is remarkedly distinguished. Most notably, he was named Banker of the Year for the State of Alabama by the Small Business Administration in 1982.
In 1987, a group of local business leaders approached Jim about starting a new bank, and in 1988, The Bank of Tuscaloosa opened for business with Jim serving as the Chariman, President and CEO. Under his leadership, the Bank of Tuscaloosa developed an identity as being one of West Alabama's premier corporate citizens. Not only did Jim encourage his team members to become actively involved in the community, but he led by example as well.
In 1999, The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama recognized Jim by bestowing on him its Member of the Year Award. He was also named the Chamber's Small Business Advocate of the Year in 2000, served as Chairman in 2004, and was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the organization in 2010.
He also served a two-year term as Chairman of the Board for the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority in 2006-7 and is still an active Board member.
One of Jim's greatest passions is for the success and viability of DCH Hospital. In 1992, when DCH was working to obtain its Northport location, Jim voiced his advocacy and support of the aquisition, which has allowed DCH to better serve the health care needs of West Alabama's citizens. Jim later co-chaired the DCH Foundation's capitol campaign for the new Cancer Center. The campaign was successful in raising $10 million toward the completion of the facility.
Jim has provided leadership and service to many of the community's charitable organizations as well. He chaired the annual campaign for the United Way in 1994, raising $1.91 million for its member agencies, which was a record setting amount at the time. In addition, he served as Chairman of the organization's Board of Directors in 1995. For the past two years, he has chaired the Alexis DeTocqueville Society, which consists of the United Way's top donors of $10,000 per year or greater.
Jim is actively involved with his alma mater, the University of Alabama, serving on the President's Cabinet and as a member of the Board of Visitors for the College of Commerce and Business Administration. He also serves as a Board member of the Capstone medical Foundation and is a past Board member of the Lister Hill Society. He has also served on the Boards of FOCUS on Senior Citizens, Children's Hands On Museum, Kentuck, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Tuscaloosa Rotary Club and others, providing valuable leadership and guidance.
Jim currently serves as president and CEO of First National Bank of Central Alabama. And he and his wife Dianna are active members of First Presbyterian Church.
Shelley Jones has dedicated her professional and personal life to improving the quality of education for all children in our community.
After receiving a BA degree in elementary education from the University of Kentucky, Shelley earned her MA degree at the University of Alabama and began her long history of commitment to education.
She served 32 years in the roles of teacher, curriculum associate and principal in the school system. Shelley was appointed a City Board of Education member in 1997. And when the decision was made to elect school board members, Shelley was overwhelmingly elected by the voters as the at-large Chairman of the Board. She became the first female to chair the Board of Education in its 119-year history.
Shelley has been involved in many activities which benefit both youth and adults in Tuscaloosa. Some of the more than 25 organizations for which she has served are: City of Tuscaloosa Comprehensive Plan Committee, West Alabama Center for Workforce Development, Tuscaloosa Family Resource Center, A Woman's Place, Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre, Child Abuse Prevention Services, Mental Health Association of West Alabama, Children's Hands-On Museum, United Way's Success by Six and Friends of the Library, as well as many other organizations.
She was selected for Leadership Tuscaloosa and Leadership Alabama, Community Foundation of West Alabama's Pillars of West Alabama, State PTA Outstanding Elementary Principal of the Year in 1989, Tombigbee Girl Scouts Outstanding Educator Award in 1990, Tuscaloosa County Citizen of the Year in 2006, among other honors.
She and her husband Thomas are active members of First Presbyterian Church, where she has served in many leadership roles such as Deacon, Elder, Education Committee Chairperson, and others over the years.
A life-long resident of Tuscaloosa County, Nona Joyce Sellers had a vision for and made dedicated efforts to improve the Tuscaloosa County School system.
Joyce grew up in Holt, graduated from Holt High School, and was a life-long, active member of Holt United Methodist Church. She attended the University of Alabama, where she earned BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees in Education then became the first female assistant principal at Tuscaloosa County High School from 1982 to 1986. She was also principal of Holt High School from 1986 to1990 and served as principal of Hillcrest High School from 1990 to 1994, before beginning her term as Superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System, directing its growth and expansion. Joyce also served as an adjunct professor of educational leadership at the University of Alabama, helping to train and inspire many education leaders.
Joyce demonstrated leadership and brought honor to Tuscaloosa County in many areas outside her professional field. She was a graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa, Leadership Alabama, on the Alabama Council of the National Beta Club, member of the PRIDE Commission, Board member of Ronald McDonald Children's Charities of Tuscaloosa, served 9 years on the Black Warrior Council of Boy Scouts of America and the Children's Hands On Museum. She served in many leadership capacities on the Indian Rivers Mental Health Board, was on the Genesis House Board, member of the State Board of Alabama Easter Seals Society, member and Chairperson from 1986 to 1988 of Tuscaloosa County Chapter of Crippled Children and Adults, plus affiliations to other groups.
Joyce has been recognized with many awards and honors during her lifetime and after her passing. In 1992, she received the Capstone College of Education Society Outstanding Contribution of Education Award. She received the Soroptimist Woman of Distinction Award and the Mollie Allen Advocate for Children Award from the Tuscaloosa County Council of PTAs in 1995 and the Tombigbee Girl Scout Council Outstanding Educator Award in 1996. She received the Holt High School Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Holt High School Hall of Fame in 1995. The school Library was named for her in 1999. In 2003, Joyce was named Northpoort's Citizen of the Year and, in 2005, was named one of the Pillars of West Alabama by the Community Foundation of West Alabama. And there are numerous other accolades.
The Education Excellence Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1994 by Joyce, continues to grow and provide ongoing financial assistance to teachers and classrooms in Tuscaloosa County.
After serving his country in World War II, Charlie Oliver Sealy, Sr. returned home and began a remarkable career in real estate development that spanned six decades.
Charlie actually began his business at Bridgers Lumber Company, where he was a salesman. He began building houses on the side to help the booming demand created by returning soldiers and their brides. He helped the common man realize home ownership and eventually built thousands of homes and played a vital role in the development of dozens of subdivisions around West Alabama. In addition to this and apartment development, he was involved in the insurance, banking and environmental services industries. He founded Sealy Realty Co (which has managed over 8500 apartment homes in four southern states), Sealy Insurance Agency, Security Federal Savings and Loan, Peoples Bank of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa Waste Removal and Rumsey Environmental.
Charlie held numerous positions of leadership in a number of different organizations in our community. He was a charter member of the Homebuilders of Tuscaloosa. In addition to holding every possible office including National Director, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The same thing could be said for the Alabama Real Estate Association.
Charlie was also instrumental in helping to establish the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority. Charged with the task of raising funds to purchase the land, the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Park exists today because of his tireless efforts. He served as Chairman and Director of the Authority, which has recruited thousands of jobs to our community since that time.
In 1981, Charlie was appointed Chariman of the Original City Commission, which allocated funds for the revitalization of the downtown area and streetscaping. He was named the Northport Outstanding Business Leader in 1984 and received the Pillars of West Alabama Award from the Community Foundation of West Alabama in 2005. He was the Foundation Director of DCH Hospital and the Tuscaloosa County High School Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1989.
Charlie was ordained as a Deacon and served many years at Forest Lake Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church with his wife, Virginia.
Frankie Taylor Thomas was an outstanding teacher, librarian, administrator, civic leader, religious leader and volunteer for many organizations representing worthy causes.
Frankie was raised in Tuscaloosa County in the community of Samantha. She was the fifth of ten children, who all worked on the family farm. In adulthood, she embarked on a great education by attending Stillman College, earning a BS degree from Alabama State University, a Masters of Library Science degree at the University of Wisconsin then attending Rutgers University for post-graduate studies.
Frankie worked as a teacher at Coaling High School and Fayette County Training School before becoming the first black faculty member and Librarian at University of Alabama Library in 1969. She eventually became Head of the Reference Department in 1975 and promoted to Associate Professor that year. She became head of a Staff Development in 1981 and was appointed library communications officer. She was an inspiration to many undergraduate students who became interested in librarianship.
A force for change and improvement, Frankie made her way gently through barriers to achieve improvements for future black faculty at the University of Alabama. She also worked tirelessly for improved funding for new Tuscaloosa County School system facilities as well as for improved library service.
She was a pastor's wife, married to the Rev. EV Taylor, and, together, they founded Mt. Galilee Baptist Church in Northport. She served there as Sunday School Teacher, Youth Director, Matrons Counselor, President of the Missionary Society, Trustee Board member, Librarian, and in many other roles.
In addition, she was involved with League of Women Voters of Greater Tuscaloosa, West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA, Alabama Democratic Conference, Friends of Historic Northport, Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, United Way, American Red Cross, and March of Dimes as well as other civic and charitable groups.
The honors that Frankie received during her lifetime speak to her involvement in many areas. She received the Stillman College Distinguished Alumni Award and was named Northport Citizen of the Year. A classroom is named for her at the new Tuscaloosa County High School and the library at Collins-Riverside Middle School bears her name. Also, the street on which Northport Elementary School is located is named for her.