July 28, 2021

City Councilman recalls importance of uncles in his life

(Franklin, GA) — A city councilman and local business owner is remembering not just his own dad on this Father’s Day, but his four uncles as well.

He says that each of the men played a vital part in making him the successful man he is today.

Willie “Bo” Almond, Jr.

Councilman Willie “Bo” Almond, Jr. is the owner of Almond’s Lawn Maintenance Service and is the longest serving member on the Franklin City Council.

“I think that dad’s aren’t the only ones that should be recognized on this special day,” says Almond.

“Many times Uncles are the ones that stand in the place of fathers and help their nieces and nephews out. Most stories about uncles never get told but I know my uncles have been some of the most important men in my life — and I know I’m only doing good now because of them.”

His dad was Willie Almond, Sr. and his mom was Hazel Woodruff Almond. Bo has two uncles on his dad’s side and two uncles on his mom’s side. Three of the four men are now deceased.

His dad’s brothers were Boncy Almond and Joe Almond.

“My Uncle Boncy was quite a character. He liked fast motorcycles, trucks and he also loved the women and the fast life,” Bo says.

“To me that was exciting — he let me ride motorcycles with him and we always had a good time. He was only three years older than me so he would sometimes take me out on dates. I was like his third wheel sitting in the backseat and he taught me a good bit about dating.”

Bonzi Almond

Bo remembers his Uncle Joe Almond as a strong man that gave him his life-long nickname.

“Uncle Joe always spent time playing with me when I was a kid. He shared so much of his knowledge and wisdom with me. I remember him having these big strong arms — I thought he was probably the strongest man in the world. I had bow legs when I was a young child and he is the one that first started calling me Bo.”

Dorsey Woodruff lived in the city of Atlanta which led to some great adventures for many of the children in the family.

On the first Sunday in August, Bo’s Uncle Dorsey would always meet the family at Friendship Church and then he would take a few of the nieces and nephews back to Atlanta with him to stay for the week.

“Uncle Dorsey would take us so many places on our trips to Atlanta,” Bo remembers fondly.

“They were just building the interstates back then and he would take us to watch some of the road work going on. I will never forget him saying to me while we watched those men working: ‘Bo a man can come to Atlanta with a dump truck and he can go into business for himself.’ That really planted a seed for me about going into business for myself.”

Bo says some of his favorite memories were when his Uncle Dorsey would take them to watch the big pro wrestling matches in Downtown Atlanta.

Perhaps the biggest influence in Bo’s life has been Pastor Grady Woodruff — his only living Uncle and a beloved member of the Heard County community. Pastor Grady’s wife is former Heard County school teacher Mrs. Willie Woodruff.

“My Uncle Grady taught me so much about life and would always spend a lot of time with me,” says Bo.

“I’ve never heard him curse and he has always been such a good role model. Grady Woodruff taught me the importance of honesty, treating people right, and treating people with respect. He would always say to me: “Nephew you respect people and they will give you respect back.'”

Bo remembers as a kid going coon hunting with Mr. Grady. He says he wouldn’t be scared even as a little boy out in the woods because he knew Mr. Grady had a gun — just in case they needed it.

“Uncle Grady is the one that really showed me the value of hard work. He had an old push lawn mower and he taught me all about cutting grass and working hard. He would always give me two dollars when I finished cutting it — which was a whole lot of money for a kid back in those days.”

Pastor Grady Woodruff and his wife Mrs. Willie Woodruff

Bo credits these times with his uncle Grady for inspiring him to start his own lawn care business which he still owns and operates today.

“I admire my Uncle Grady most for just getting me started in life. He talked to me about the birds and the bees and how to show respect to young women. I do wish he had talked to me a little longer about focusing on just one bee,” he added with a big laugh.

Bo says one of his fondest memories as a child was the time when his Uncle Grady showed up unannounced at a family cookout.

“We were out in the yard having a cook out when we heard the most amazing sound. It was my Uncle Grady and his best friend riding up on two brand new motorcycles. Everybody stopped what they were doing that day. Those motorcycles were so cool and so shiny. My Uncle Grady planted yet another seed that day.”

“My mama said ‘Grady don’t need that motorcycle he’s gonna mess around and kill himself.’ I wanted to tell my mama that I was getting my own motorcycle when I got grown but I was afraid I would get me jaw popped,” Bo says jokingly.

Bo did end up getting his own bike after all and even joined a motorcycle club with his Uncle Grady.

“Me and Uncle Grady rode all the way down to Florida together on our bikes. I will never forget riding up and down HWY 98 with him. I thought we were so cool,” Bo says.

Despite the great influence of his uncles, Bo does not want to leave out his late father and namesake — Willie Amos Almond, Sr.

Bo was the youngest of four children and the only male in his family. He says that his parents eventually split up so he mostly grew up in a single parent home — spending some time with each of them.

Bo feels like he was lucky to be born when he was because after having three straight girls, his mom had told his dad if their fourth child was not a boy that she was NOT going to have any more kids.

Willie Amos Almond, Sr.

Bo says he really looked up to his father.

“My dad taught me to drive and he taught me how to be a man. Whatever he was doing right or wrong or whether he was going up or down, as a kid I always wanted to be just like him.”

Bo especially remembers going hunting and fishing with his father whom he says was a hard-working man that just like his uncles treated people in the right way.

“A young boy really needs a man in his life and I am so proud to have my father’s name — I display it like a badge of honor on both my work shirt and on my Almond’s Lawn Maintenance work truck.”

Bo also remembers a quote his dad always told him and says he still wonders about its meaning.

“‘The real story hasn’t been told yet’ is what my dad always told me — even on his death bed. I am still trying to figure out what he meant by that,” says Bo. “I want to wish all the men out there a Happy Father’s Day. If you have time to spend with your son please do so, because I can tell you right now — they will never forget it.”

Comments

  1. Steve Wortham says

    What an outstanding article. I had never thought of honoring my uncles, but on reflection, they all had a very great influence on me – and still do.

    The article mentioned Pastor Grady Woodruff. I met Grady when I was still in high school (early 1960’s) and worked with him at Ernest Memorial Hospital on weekends. I will forever remember Grady for his advice that was always to my benefit. Grady was a fine man and outstanding role model for anyone that knew him.

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