Fleming enjoys unusual hobbies
Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Larry Fleming has what some would consider a rather unusual job and a couple of even more unusual hobbies.
Fleming is an assistant funeral director at Williams Funeral Home, and although he doesn't look on it as being an unusual job, he acknowledges that some might see it as such.
His hobbies are both very interesting as well as being unusual. As an employee of a funeral home he has become interested in anything connected to his profession.
The funeral homes that he saw got him interested in other things related to his job and today he has a wide range of items displayed in his home in East Brewton. There are miniature hearses, photographs of beautiful funeral homes and hearses and even a couple of bottles containing embalming fluid.
His other hobby is collecting salt water fish. Many people have regular aquariums with tropical fish but there are not so many who have fish who live in salt water. When he first got into collecting fish, he too began with fresh water fish in a 29-gallon tank. That led to a 55-gallon tank and a switch to salt water fish. The fish are much bigger and more unusual looking. He then bought a 100-gallon, then a 125-gallon and now a 240-gallon tank which contains around a dozen fish of all kinds and colors. There is also a striped eel which usually hides behind the 220 pounds of rocks that are in the tank.
The process of maintaining the fish is rather a monumental one. The water has to be changed out every few months and Fleming has worked out a system where he changes around 40 gallons at the time.
This means the fish are never dumped into water to which they are not acclimated. There is always enough of the old water to keep from shocking the fish. During the times between changing of the water, Fleming keeps a container next to the tank in which he keeps the water to which he has added the salt.
The fish themselves are like most pets. They have their own personalities and surprisingly they have a relationship with Fleming. As he walks by the tank, the fish all swim toward him and if he holds his hand over the tank they all swim to the top, waiting to be fed. Some are shy and hang around the rocks while others are quite bold and come right to the side of the tank. One of the most amusing is a Guinea Hen Puffer fish which is black with white spots. His top teeth are so human-looking that he seems as if he is smiling at you.
One of Fleming's favorite places to vacation is St. Augustine. He finds a lot of fish there and the rock formations to give the fish a home within the water.
Fleming grew up in East Brewton and attended W.S. Neal High School, graduating in 1977. His father died a few years ago and his mother remarried to Leamon Dyal. Fleming has one brother, Greg, and he lives with his grandmother, Brown Martin and his uncle, Tony Martin. He has never married and had children, but he does have a niece and nephew, Mercedes and Shaun Fleming.
After graduation from high school he went to work at Allied Precision Machine Shop which is now part of Brewton Iron Works. He stayed there about 14 years before going to work at an oil company for a while. He was sent all over Texas while he was working and became very homesick, which brought him back to the Brewton area. He and his brother, Greg, opened Mickey Finn's on Hwy. 31 which they operated for about four or five years.
He had been friends for years of the Williams family who operates Williams Memorial Funeral Home and he began to work there doing "a little bit of everything."
He has worked there for the past 10 years and is working to become a funeral director. In order to do that he has to serve two years as an apprentice and then take a state test to become a licensed funeral director.