2013 Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame honorees:

Dr. George

Dr. George "Norman" Carlson

(1931 - present)

Dr. Carlson practiced dentistry in Northport for almost 52 years and, according to state records, was the first dentist to have a permanent practice there. He was active in professional dentistry organizations the whole time.

In the community, Norman served as President of the Tuscaloosa County High School PTSA, a term on the Northport Zoning and Adjustment Board, and in 1969-1970, he served as President of the Northport Quarterback Club. He has been a member of the Northport Lions Club since 1961 and served as President in 1964-5. He was a recipient of the Lion of the Year and is a Melvin Jones Fellow of Lions International. He also served on the Black Warrior Board of Counsel for Boy Scouts of America, for which he was presented the Silver Beaver Award in 1984, and has been a member of the board of our local Family Counseling Service. Norman was named Northport Citizen of the Year in 1982 then served on the board of the new Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama (after Northport and Tuscaloosa merged) and was Vice President in 1987.

As a member of Northport First Methodist Church, he chaired a committee to organize a new Methodist church in Northport, which became St. Mark Methodist, organized in 1965.He has served in many capacities in that church since.

Since his retirement in March of this year, Norman has continued to serve through his work on the board at Caring Days Adult Daycare and working the tornado relief efforts at his church. He is a very humble person, who has always been concerned about serving his patients and fellow citizens.

His life has been a demonstration of a servant's heart and attitude.

Rev. Sylvester Croom, Sr.

Rev. Croom is most known for his civil rights work in the community, as the big black man with the big voice and white hat. Rev. Croom was a pastor for 33 years, completing three churches including College Hill Baptist with his wife Louise in 1981. He was also an educator for 30 years and among the first African-American teachers to integrate the Tuscaloosa County High faculty.

Rev. Croom's civic engagement spanned five decades. While working in Tuscaloosa County, he spoke at several engagements to help move things forward toward civil rights and equality and even survived a near lynching. He was highly regarded and was the first African-American after the Civil War to qualify to run for public office in Tuscaloosa County.

During a time when then Gov. Wallace stood in the doors of the University of Alabama against integration, Rev. Croom was named Chaplain of its football team. He served under Paul "Bear" Bryant and was named an honorary assistant coach for his contributions. He has been recognized by the University as one of the 40 pioneers of civil rights in the state.

At age 58, Rev. Croom was inducted into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for his accomplishments. He also served as a member of President Ford's Commission on Aging and helped entrepreneurs provide civic services in underserved areas of Tuscaloosa County. His legacy is his love for people and the ability to see the good in everyone.

Claude D. Edwards

Claude D. Edwards

(1960 - present)

Mr. Edwards is a role model in providing outstanding leadership and service to his community. A hallmark of his reputation is his willingness to champion a worthwhile cause. Even throughout an incredibly difficult period in the banking industry, where he makes his livelihood, and a busy time in his career, he has stepped forward time and time again, accepting new challenges when his community was in need.

Claude began working in banking while in high school and his first job at First Alabama/Regions continued on through college and for a total of 27 years. He then left to help start Bryant Bank as its first President in 2005 and has been in banking now for 35 years. Mentors over the years taught him the importance of community service, and he has upheld a standard of giving back throughout his career. He credits Paul W. Bryant, Jr. and Bryant Bank for promoting a spirit of community involvement and allowing him to be involved in various projects.

Claude has served as co-chair of the Caring Days capital campaign and is a board member for that organization. He is also a prior Chairman of the DCH Foundation and served as Chairman of The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama in 2010. He has also served Chairman of the Board for Crime Stoppers.

He has served on the boards of many local charities including Black Warrior Council of Boy Scouts (where he is currently president), Hospice of West Alabama, Capstone Health Services Foundation, Project Blessings, Tuscaloosa Museum of Art, and UCP of West Alabama.

Claude was recognized as the Member of the Year by the Chamber in 2008 after serving for many years on that board. He received a Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America and was named a Pillar of the Community in 2012 by the Community Foundation of West Alabama. He is a past member of the Kiwanis Club, the West Alabama Literacy Initiative, and a current board member of the Red Elephant Club. He has also served as a United Way of West Alabama Loaned Executive and volunteer.

Claude is a talented, unselfish leader who has demonstrated his willingness to go the extra mile for his community.


Walter "Doc" Jones

(1895 - 1977)

Charismatic is perhaps the best adjective to describe Walter Bryan "Doc" Jones. One of his greatest attributes was the ability to influence others to help preserve our natural resources.

In the depression era years, Doc Jones commenced the Herculean task of raising money to buy 300 acres encompassing the Moundville mounds. He recognized the cultural importance of this Mississippian Indian complex. Unfortunately, areas between the mounds were under cultivation, destroying many period artifacts. Without Doc's leadership, the area would have probably remained unprotected and the Moundville Archeological Park and its museum, which is named for him, would not exist. In 1975, the University of Alabama, through which he was also successful in expanding the Alabama Museum of Natural History, awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and the town of Moundville honored him that same year for saving the mounds. The Alabama Geological Survey building on the University campus is also named in his honor.

A religious man, Doc was an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa where his skills and knowledge aided Boy Scout programs and the like.

He was the Alabama District Governor of Kiwanis International in 1950 and held active leadership roles in various professional and civic organizations including serving as President of Alabama Ducks Unlimited, for which he enlisted a number of people to run a conservation of wetlands program.

Respected by colleagues and friends, his contributions are lasting testimonies to sustain and maintain our natural resources thus contributing to the quality and livability of our community.

Dr. Charles Ray Nash

Dr. Charles Ray Nash

(1945 - present)

Dr. Nash has been a distinguished command level leader in both secondary and higher education for many years. He began his career teaching middle school science before becoming a high school assistant principal and elementary school principal. Currently, he serves as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for The University of Alabama System, a post he has held since 1992.

He is much more than that to the citizens of West Alabama. He has provided decisive, innovative and dedicated leadership in a wide range of civic endeavors.

He was named Citizen of the Year in Tuscaloosa County in 2009 and a Pillar of the Community in West Alabama in 2010. He was also presented with the first Friend of the AL Mathematics, Science, and Technology Initiative Award and the NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award.

Dr. Nash chairs or has chaired many organizations including The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, United Way of West Alabama, Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, Challenge 21, Leadership Tuscaloosa and the All-America City Campaign.

He is or was also on the boards of North Central Alabama Council of Girl Scouts of America, Black Warrior Council of Boy Scouts, Elizabeth Project Care, Caring Days Adult Daycare, Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama, Murphy African-American Museum, Tuscaloosa's Promise, Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama Foundation, Tuscaloosa City Schools Education Foundation, Governor's College and Career Ready Taskforce, Easter Seals of West Alabama, Family Counseling Service, Tuscaloosa Rotary Memorial Foundation.

He is also an Elder at Brown Memorial Church. Many have benefitted from his positive influence and ability to inspire others and will remember his loyalty to service.

Beverly Clarkson Phifer

Beverly Clarkson Phifer


Beverly Phifer became President of Phifer Wire at age 31 and has presided over the world largest screen wire manufacturer, Phifer Incorporated, for over 30 years. The family business was founded by her father, Reese Phifer, in 1952. As the leader of one of the state's largest, most successful, most innovative, most community-minded companies, Beverly is always one of the first to whom civic leaders turn for help, knowing that she will always help.

Beverly has served in both volunteer and leadership capacities at the West Alabama Food Bank, Salvation Army, Temporary Emergency Services, Soup Bowls, Good Samaritan Clinic, Red Cross, West Tuscaloosa Promise Neighborhood, and Christ Episcopal Church's Lazarus Ministry. She also built a small dorm and offered the use of a Phifer facility for overnight visitors to Tuscaloosa working as tornado recovery volunteers. Known only to her are the innumerable gifts of her time, talent, and treasure that she has given anonymously to the community.

She was given an honorary doctorate by her alma mater, The University of Alabama, and serves on the President's Cabinet, Museum Board of Regents, Denny Society, Women of Capstone, and the Board of Visitors for the Culverhouse College of Commerce. She was inducted in 2012 as a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor, one of the top 100 living Alabamians.

The breadth and depth of her contributions to the community are legendary. Tuscaloosa would not be the place that it is today without the difference that Beverly makes every day.

Gordon Rosen

Gordon Rosen


Mr. Rosen has achieved much in his lifetime. He is a World War II veteran, the oldest practicing lawyer in Tuscaloosa (now in his 65th year of practice), past Municipal Judge and law professor, entrepreneur, commercial property owner in Tuscaloosa and Northport and a cattle farmer.

He founded two successful law firms locally but actions as Tuscaloosa's City Judge in the early 1970s may be his biggest contribution to the community. During the Vietnamese War, he was asked to become City Judge as a public service with no pay. At that time, a multitude of cases had been brought against students and professors demonstrating on the University of Alabama campus and all were being convicted, even though police had not properly recorded all the facts. This was causing a rift between Tuscaloosa and the campus community. Rosen recommended that the cases be dismissed and a truce was declared.

He also served as a director at various times for the YMCA, Salvation Army, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of West Alabama, Indian Rivers, and other civic organizations.

In 2003, The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama awarded him the Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of distinguishing and exceptional business leadership. He has also been designated as a Pillar of the West Alabama Community Foundation.

A generous man, he has provided funds in recent years to the Gordon Rosen Professorship at the UA Law School, the Gordon and Ann Rosen endowed Nursing scholarship, the Gordon and Ann Rosen Endowed Scholarship for License Practical Nurses at Shelton State and the Gordon and Ann Rosen Endowed Education Scholarship. For his assistance to OverComing Ministries, a church in Vance, a fellowship room was named in his honor.