Local Hall of Fame member Al Peavy passed away over the weekend at his Mount Airy home.
Clarence Alton Peavy, age 86, served as the long-time president of the Mount Airy Youth Foundation and was inducted into the Greater Mount Airy Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, receiving the Granite City Award for contributions to the sport other than as a player or coach.
Peavy was born in Vienna, Georgia, June 20, 1931. He graduated from Georgia Tech University in 1953, with a B.S. in Management and Engineering.
Al served two years in the U.S. Navy with the 6th Fleet in the Atlantic area of operations. He starred on the US Naval Basketball Team and played in ports around the world. He was honorably discharged as a lieutenant in 1955.
While in the Navy, he married his college sweetheart, Margaret Ann Yarbrough. He and his family moved to Mount Airy in 1960.
Peavy was involved with the Mount Airy Youth Foundation for decades, serving as president from 1986 until 2003. He remained an active board member after that.
He was instrumental in establishing a unique program that allows every student in the Mount Airy school system to attend all regular-season sporting events for free.
Under his leadership and support, the foundation raised almost $2 million, and last fall he had a key role in the acquisition of the new scoreboard at Wallace Shelton Stadium.
When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, Peavy reflected on how he became involved in the Foundation.
He recalled his youngest child, Kris, joining the JV basketball team as a freshman.
Kris came home from practice one day in the fall of 1985 talking about the poor condition of the uniforms. Al told him that it was common for the schools to provide the best equipment for the upperclassmen on varsity.
Kris replied, “Dad, we just don’t have a lot, period.”
A few weeks later, Frank Lowry, Kris’ Little League football coach and a city commissioner, contacted Al about help in raising funds for the Mount Airy athletic department.
Al joined the Youth Foundation, and in his first year as a member, the group erased a $9,000 debt and still managed to buy new uniforms and equipment.
The next year he became foundation president and held that role from 1986 to 2003 before passing the torch to Mike Bowman.
“We can’t have everything for everybody, but it looks like we could have first-grade equipment and uniforms for all of them,” Peavy said before his induction. “There’s no reason we can’t do that.”
One of the Youth Foundation’s successful fundraising efforts in his early days was a ham biscuit stand at the Autumn Leaves Festival, he recalled, crediting festival director Jim Andrews for helping the group be a part of that popular draw.
At one point in his first year as president, the volleyball equipment fell into such bad shape that the high school was considering dropping the sport altogether.
Peavy asked the coach for a list of everything needed and an estimate of the cost. That list came back with a tally of $1,500. He rejected the list and told her to come back with top-of-the-line equipment instead, and she returned with a list totaling $2,500.
The Youth Foundation filled the list, and the Lady Bears have won many conference championships since then. The Bears won the state AA championship in 1986, ‘87 and ‘90.
“If that program had gone by the wayside, what a waste that would have been,” he said.
As for the free student admission to games, Peavy said, “It’s expensive to take a family to a basketball game. The ID cards make it more affordable for parents to come to games, which increases team support.”
Eleven years after Al, son Kris would also join the Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 for his skills in both golf and basketball. He thanked his parents, Al and Margaret, for all the time and effort they put into his athletic aspirations.
Kris said he played thousands of rounds of golf with Al after his father got off work.
“We talked about everything under the sun, and during this time we actually played a little golf,” he said.
Now that he has two daughters to raise, Kris said that he realizes that his dad wasn’t just teaching him golf all those days on the course.
“We were learning how to deal with the challenges that would come at you later in life.”
• A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Moody Funeral Chapel. The Peavy family will receive friends at the funeral home prior to that from 10-11:30 a.m. A private burial will be held in Oakdale Cemetery. Donations may be made in his name to the Mount Airy Youth Foundation; email: [email protected]
Jeff is the news editor and can be reached at 415-4692.