Friends: Foshee fought for county

Published 11:52 pm Monday, March 20, 2017

Crum Foshee was remembered this week as an elected official who was willing to fight for what he believed was right, a great storyteller, and a good friend.

Foshee, a Red Level native who represented Covington County for four years in the House of Representatives and 18 years in the Alabama Senate, died Saturday morning. He had been fighting lung cancer.

Former Speaker of the House Seth Hamment, said, “In my years serving in the Alabama House of Representatives, I learned that Crum Foshee never backed down from a fight even it the fight was with a friend.

“Most of us know and remember Crum for his tireless — and successful — efforts to four-lane Highway 55 which now bears his name,” Hammett said. “That was an important improvement for our area, but Crum fought for his district in many other less memorable ways. One prime example is Frank Jackson State Park.

“As Gov. Fob James was leaving office, he reallocated money intended for our park in Opp to Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. When I told Crum about the action, he said, ‘We’re going to sue (incoming) Governor George Wallace (his close friend) and the Department of Conservation to get our money back.’

“We did just that, despite Crum’s close ties to Wallace, and recovered the money intended for the park,” Hammett recalled. “After the EPA permits were received, Frank Jackson State Park became a reality.”

Sen. Jimmy Holley, who served in the House of Representatives when Foshee was a senator, also remembered that fight.

“He put the money in the budget, helped pass the budget, and the governor absconded with it. He went to court personally, and that’s how the lake got built. He was that strong,” Holley said.

Holey said the former senator also was tenacious about the four-laning of Hwy. 55. Others said he continued to quietly push to have the four-laning completed, even after he left the Senate and worked as a consulant.

“He was a very strong proponent of Andalusia and LBW Community College,” Holley recalled.

“I used to love to sit down and listen to his stories. He could tell stories all day long with that old Southern drawl,” he said. “He loved telling about his family.”

Like Hammett, Holley also said he’d seen Foshee fight for what he believed in.

“When the legislature would be in extended debate, he was very gracious, but he stood firm with his positions,” he said.

When Holley first ran for Senate, he said, Foshee did something for him he’d never even done for himself.

“He went door-to-door campaigning with me, and introduced me to all of his cousins in Red Level,” Holley said. “We were honored to have him do that.”

Paul Armstrong served as mayor of Andalusia during the time Foshee represented Covington County in the Senate. “He worked hard for Andalusia,” Armstrong said. “He helped us every way he could, and always did.”

The list of Foshee’s pall bearers is a veritable “who’s who” among former Alabama politicians, including former Gov. Jim Folsom Jr., former Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley, current Ethics Commission member Charles Price, Hammett, Milton McGregor, and former Opp Mayor Tony Moore.

“Crum Foshee was a good man, my friend, and will be greatly missed,” McGregor said through a spokesman.

Moore said he’s known Foshee for 50 years, but it was his recent friendship – not his longtime political acquaintance with the former senator – that put him on the pallbearers’ list.

“We played dominoes at his office in the afternoon, for years,” Moore, who has lived in Montgomery and worked as a lobbyist for the past 17 years. “That’s how we got to be close friends.”

Foshee, Moore, Alva Lambert, and Tommy Cole “rattled the bones” two or three afternoons a week.

“He did a heck of a service for Andalusia and Covington County with Hwy. 55,” Moore said. “It’s made a lot of difference in Andalusia, with people going through there to the beach.

“He was behind the last gas tax that was put on, and that’s been a positive thing,” Moore said. “He wanted good roads and bridges.”

Moore said he last saw Foshee on Thursday.

“He had been fighting cancer pretty good while,” he said. “I could tell he was having a hard time. He’ll be missed.”

Foshee’s family will receive friends in Andalusia from 1 until 3 p.m. on Thursday at Foreman Funeral Home. For complete obituary information, click here.