Alonzo “Jake” Gaither

Alonzo Smith "Jake" Gaither
(April 11, 1903 – February 18, 1994)

Jake Gaither portrait.jpg

Alonzo "Jake" Gaither was an American football coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Florida A&M University (FAMU) for 25 years, from 1945 to 1969, compiling a record of 204–36–4. His won–loss record is among the best of any college football coach.

Gaither was born in 1903 in Dayton, Tennessee. His father was a preacher, and as a youth Gaither expected to also become a preacher. He graduated from Knoxville College, where he played football as an end in 1927. Gaither's father died around that time, and Gaither became a high school football coach to help support his family. Gaither later completed a master's degree at Ohio State University in 1937.

Gaither went to work as an assistant to head coach William M. Bell at Florida A&M College for Negroes (as it was called then) in 1937. The FAMC Rattlers had an undefeated (8–0) season that year, and won their first black college football national championship. The school won the national title again in 1942. Bell left to enter military service in 1943. After two years of problems in the football program, Gaither was hired as the head football coach for Florida A&M College in 1945. One story is that the president of the college could not find anyone else to take the job.

Gaither worked very hard to motivate his players. He would say, "I like my boys to be agile, mobile, and hostile." It is reported that he would hide an onion in his handkerchief to work up tears in his pre-game pep talks. He built up an effective recruiting network; in the days of Jim Crow, he had the pick of every good black high school player in Florida. Indeed, by the 1960s did not even bother to recruit players from outside the state.

Gaither instituted an annual coaching clinic at FAMU in the late 1950s. He recruited major college coaches, including Paul "Bear" Bryant, Frank Broyles, Darrell Royal, Woody Hayes and Adolph Rupp, among others, to staff the clinics.

Gaither introduced the Split-T formation in 1963, and it was soon adopted at other colleges. In 1969 Florida A&M defeated the Spartans of the University of Tampa, 34–28, in the South's first football game between a white college and a historically black college.

Gaither also coached basketball and track in his early years as football coach. He later became Director of Athletics and Chairman of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at FAMU. He continued to hold the last two positions after he retired as coach until his retirement from teaching in 1973.

When Gaither retired from coaching in 1969, his Florida A&M teams had a 204–36–4 record, for a .844 winning percentage. Thirty-six players from Gaither's teams were All-Americans, and 42 went on to play in the National Football League (NFL). Gaither was named Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Decade. He was named College Division Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 1962, and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975. He also received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award that year, and the Walter Camp Man of the Year award in 1974. The Jake Gaither Trophy has been awarded to the best Black collegiate football player each year since 1978. The Jake Gaither Gymnasium is located on the FAMU campus.

Gaither died in Tallahassee, Florida in 1994. The Jake Gaither House where he lived is now a cultural center.

Information provided by Wikipedia

Bradley Scott Gaither

Bradley Scott Gaither, 53, of Harmony, left this earth to be with his heavenly Father, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022.

Bradley was born Feb. 16, 1968, in Iredell County, to the late Roy Alexander Gaither Sr. and Mary Templeton Gaither. He was a graduate of North Iredell High School in 1986, and earned an associate in applied science from Randolph Technical College in floral design and commercial horticulture in 1988. He held a management position with Dollar Tree for over 28 years.

Bradley was preceded in death by brother, Roy Alexander Gaither Jr.; sister, Mary Frances Gaither Logan Rupard; companion, Todd E. Bunton; brothers-in-law, E. Lamar Jordan, Edgar P. Logan, and Jerry Rupard; nephew, Brian K. Jordan; niece, Terina J. Gaither; a great-great-niece and -nephew.

Left to cherish his memory are a sister, Flora A. Gaither Jordan; sister-in-law, Jane O'Neal Gaither; nieces, Marie S. Jordan (Travis), and Melanie D. Gaither Chatham (Jason); nephew, Z. Milton Gaither (Jennifer); six great-nieces; four great-nephews; two great-great-nieces; eight great-great-nephews; and many cousins and family friends.

A private memorial will be held in his honor at a later date.

Bradley and his sister, Flora Jordan,  ran the SJGD Store for many years.

Arthur Eugene Gaither

Arthur Eugene Gaither, 86, passed away on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Funeral service for Mr. Gaither will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm at Munford Church of Christ. Visitation will be on Friday, March 15, 2019 at Usrey Funeral Home from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Interment will be at Hillcrest Cemetery.  Rusty Stephens will officiate the service.

Arthur was a native and resident of Talladega since 1989. Mr. Gaither was a member of Munford Church of Christ. He retired from CSX Railroad. Mr. Gaither is survived by his wife, Julia Haynes Gaither; daughter, Genie Jones (Richard); two brothers, Larry Gaither and Donald Gaither.

L W Sharp, Jr

Leander Washington (L.W.) Sharp, Jr.

Raleigh

L.W. Sharp, Jr., died peacefully at his residence, early Sunday morning, 12/8/2019, after a brief illness. He was born on March 31, 1929 to the late Leander Washington Sharp, Sr. and Josie Bell Mullis Sharp in Hamptonville, NC.

Surviving are his wife of 67 years, Julia Ann Gaither Sharp; his daughters, Delaine Blinson (Mel), Mary Lou Rhodes (Tim), Carla Brewer (Mark) and Connie Sharp, all of Raleigh; six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Tuesday at Saint James United Methodist Church. Interment will follow at Raleigh Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends at the church on Tuesday from 10:00 am–11:00 am prior to the service.

Original obituary was published in The News & Observer on Dec. 9, 2019

Marriage of John Gater and Mary Waters/Walters

The marriage of John Gater and Mary Waters/Walters is recorded in St Luke’s Church, Chelsea, Middlesex, England on 31 Oct 1642. Thanks to Fredric Z Saunders for passing along this information. With the apparent birth date of John II, this would be the marriage of his parents, our ancestors. Research by Nancy Jones and Mary Jane Simpson show John Gater was back in England at this time according to court records.