We know Auburn students didn’t take to the trees when Bear Bryant died, but idiot that he is, could tree poisoner Al from Dadeville’s mythical newspaper clipping actually been of a photo of Auburn students rolling Toomer’s when Bear Bryant retired?
Again, not that we could find.
We couldn’t find anything in The Plainsman because school was out on December 15, when the announcement came. But there was nothing in the Birmingham News about a retirement party on the corner, either (and you have to think there would have been since their coverage was sensitive enough for a photo of a Birmingham business with it’s flag at half-mast … for his retirement… to make the front page).
However, we did find an interesting article by Clyde Bolton about a “malevolent offensive tackle” (and future athletic director) for Auburn named Jay Jacobs who could have easily handled Bear Bryant’s funeral arrangements: calling the vault company, dealing with the gravediggers, ordering the headstone… everything except the embalming (he didn’t have his license yet).
From the Friday, December 17, 1982 edition of The Birmingham News:
ORLANDO, Fla — Jay Jacobs is a big, malevolent offensive tackle who wants to be a funeral director.
(There will now be a one-minute delay while you make up your own jokes. You dig?)
OK, is everyone back?
“It’s not repulsive to me at all,” said Jacobs, an Auburn Tiger who hopes to be in on the burial of Boston College in the Tangerine Bowl Saturday night, “and it shouldn’t be to anyone who has any intelligence about it.”
Jacob’s grandfather, the late M. R. (Pat) Sanders, operated a funeral home in LaFayette for years, and Jay was exposed to the business for so long that he took it for granted.
And, kids will be kids.
“Oh, a friend and I played some games occasionally,” Jacobs said, grinning mischievously. “They had a garage where they parked the hearses and kept vaults. We’d move the vaults around and make hideouts. My sister and her friends were younger, and we’d scare them — when we could get them to come in there.”
Jacobs grew up in West Point, Ga. some 30 miles from LaFayette. “I’d go over there in the summer and help my grandfather in the funeral home,” he said. “It was illegal for me to help in embalming, but I’d haul flowers and move caskets.”
“One time when I was 14 he was sick, and I made the 10 or 12 phone calls necessary to arrange a funeral. I called the vault company, the people who were to dig the grace, the people who were to put up the headstone, etc. He was real proud of me, and I was proud of myself.”
Jacobs said he is interested in becoming both an embalmer and a funeral director. “If you were a funeral director and came up short of an embalmer one day, you’d have to go get somebody else if you couldn’t do it,” he explained. “It doesn’t take much time. You serve an apprenticeship and go to embalming school. The young man who is running my grandfather’s funeral home now went to school one year.”
The rest of the story goes into Jay’s journey as a walk-on at Auburn, which we’ve heard. The undertaker journey? We hadn’t.
What steered him from the career path of a funeral director to that of an athletic director remains a mystery. But it’s nice to know that he has something to fall back on if this whole Gene Chizik gamble goes bust.
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