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Brewton loses community leader, friend

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
With the passing of Jack W. Hines, Sr. this past Wednesday, Brewton lost one of the men most responsible for the city's growth and success over the years, and someone looked up to by many in the community -- those who knew him as a friend, mentor and leader.
Hines passed away Wednesday, Jan. 28 at the age of 83, after an extended illness.
"I don't think you could overstate the positive impact he had on this community," said Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings.
Hines, who was preceded in death by his wife Elinor Brooks Hines, and two sons, Leon Brooks Hines and Alexander Bolling Hines, shaped much of the city as it exists today through his real estate ventures and civic leadership.
He developed the Jackson Heights and Lynbrook subdivisions in Brewton proper, hundreds of residential lots in Alco, and built the city's first shopping center, Brewton Heights.
Hines also focused his energies toward the betterment of Brewton through avenues of job creation and industrial development. In the mid-50s, he was among the community leaders who convinced Jefferson Smurfit to locate here, a pivotal moment in the city's history.
The opening of Jefferson Smurfit, which created hundreds of jobs, provided a spark which has fueled much of Brewton's growth in the decades since. But Jennings pointed out that Brewton has benefited from more than just Hines' direct involvement in business and industry. His influence upon others -- including Jennings himself -- is also felt throughout the city today.
"There were so many people he befriended and supported," Jennings said, "and he encouraged us to become involved in this community."
Hines, who was an active member of First United Methodist Church for many years, is also being remembered this week as a man for whom faith was an important aspect of life.
So too, according to those who knew him, were family and friendship.
"He was a friend who would do anything for anyone," said Roy Stokes, of Brewton. "I think he was one of the greatest people. Brewton was fortunate to have him.
"And he was very family-oriented. He was a kind, courteous and dedicated person."
Lee Otts, also of Brewton, met Hines in 1940, when they were both attending the University of Alabama.
"He was what you would call a B.M.O.C.," Otts said. "A Big Man On Campus."
Later, Otts and Hines both lived and worked in Brewton, and spent many an afternoon on the golf course, where, Otts said, his friend was very competitive.
Ultimately, Otts said, much of Hines' success had to do with his attitude.
"He wasn't afraid to step out where someone had not been before," Otts said.
Hines was a native of Lafayette. After attending UA, he married and went into the army during World War II.
Following his military service, he moved to Brewton and went to work for Horace Levy, who owned Brewton Ribbon Mill and Pepsi Cola Bottling Company.
In 1947, Levy developed a subdivision, which he later turned over to Hines.
So began Hines' career in real estate, which saw him develop a large percentage of the city's residential dwellings, and led to his involvement in many aspects of civic life.
Hines served on the Brewton City Board of Education, was president of the Chamber of Commerce, was selected as Citizen of the Year, was chairman of the board of Bank of Brewton and served on the board of directors of the State Chamber of Commerce.
He was also heavily involved in the United Methodist Retirement Homes organization, serving as chairman of the board for the group.
The scope of his imprint on the community was considerable, as many have attested in the days since Hines' death.
"He was giant of a man," said Jennings.
Jack W. Hines, Sr., is survived by a son, Jack W. Hines Jr. of Brewton; a daughter, Lillis Christian Hines of Montclair, N.J.; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Friday, Jan. 30, at 11 a.m. at Brewton First United Methodist Church with Rev. Gary Daniel and Dr. Lawson Bryan officiating. Burial followed at Union Cemetery with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brewton First United Methodist Church.