By Hugh Scribner
About the author: Hugh Scribner is a lifelong resident of Tupelo. He is married to the former Rachel Martin. They are the parents of a 17-year-old son, Dillard. Also a member of the family is a 9-year-old dog named Eli.
I always like getting the question “was your dad Bob Scribner?” because it’s always followed by a funny story or how much that person thought of him. It’s alway something nice and I have come to believe everyone loved the man.
Dad was big and bald from as early as I can remember. He always looked dressed up to me. Dad was an attorney in Tupelo during the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s so I saw him in a suit a lot. He married JoAnn Pegram and they had four boys, Rob, Ray, Hugh and Mike. I’m the third son, my name is Hugh. He was good to his family and always made time for us. He adored us and we adored him.
I was born in Tupelo in 1964 and growing up here was a blast. Dad was a big Ole Miss fan having graduated law school there and he loved the Tupelo Golden Wave. So during football season we would be at the Golden Wave’s game on Friday night and the Rebel’s game on Saturday. I have had many a person tell me he took them to their first Ole Miss game. During baseball season he would find time to coach my older brothers’ teams and if memory serves me correct, they always did well. Mom would take me to the City Park to watch the games, but I would mostly play or climb the fence or something like that. Just typical kid stuff.
Dad had his law office in downtown Tupelo in the Knox Building next door to Kuhn’s Department Store. He was law partners with Bill Brewer in the law firm Scribner and Brewer. The Brewers were always close friends of ours and are still just like family to us. Often my dad would take me to work with him and for a kid, this was a lot of fun. Playing with the office equipment like the dictaphone (a recording device) never seemed to get old and I didn’t care, I was with him and that was all right to me.
He did things most people could only dream about. He played on the undefeated 1945 Tupelo High School football team that won the city’s first Big Eight Conference title and was coached by the legendary Pick Noble. He served as City Attorney for Tupelo in the ’70s. He served in the Army and fought in the Korean War and was awarded a Purple Heart. Later he finished his military service in the National Guard where he rose to the rank of Major. He served in the Mississippi House of Representatives in the early ’60s and I can only imagine how tough that must have been during that period of time. He was the Lee County president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association along with being the president of the Lion’s Club. He was very civic minded.
I had one of Dad’s buddies tell me one time that Bob Scribner was his hero growing up. I let him know that Dad was my hero also.
There are times in your life that stick with you for the rest of your life, frozen in time if you will. Like hitting a homerun or breaking your arm or something like that. Mine is the day my father passed away. I was 9 years old, it was a Friday and I was at Joyner Elementary trying to get through the day. I can remember thinking earlier that day “I’m staying up late tonight and I’m going to watch the ‘Midnight Special’ with Wolfman Jack.”
My day was interrupted by having my name called over the intercom telling me to come to the office. There I found one of our neighbors waiting on me, Sarah Parker. The Parkers lived across the street from us on Savery Drive. She was there to pick me up and told me the news of my father. I knew he had been sick but when you’re 9 you expect people to get better, especially when it’s your father. He died from cancer Feb. 15, 1974, at the age of 44.
The day after his passing somebody showed me the Daily Journal, and his obituary was on the front page of the paper. I didn’t know what to think of that. I had always had a high opinion of him but evidently a lot of other people did, too.
It took a while to sink in and for probably a good couple of years after he passed I couldn’t talk about him without crying. Now, I love to hear somebody ask about him because it’s alway followed by something good.
My memories of Dad are through the eyes of a child, and what great memories I have. How would my life have been different if he had lived longer? I’ll never know. I do know I had him nine wonderful years and would rather have had him for nine years than any other father for a lifetime.
My mother never remarried. I figured she thought “I had the best; why settle for anything less?”
I wish my son, Dillard, and my wife, Rachel, could have met him. They would have loved him, too, and I know he would have loved them also. Hopefully they have gotten to know him a little bit through me. I have tried to raise my son a lot in the same way my dad raised me.
I still feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth to have had him as my dad. And when people tell me how much they thought of him as a person, I can’t help but tell them, “He was a better Dad.” I love you, Dad.