Weaver left lasting mark on local education system

Published 1:16 am Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Longtime Escambia County Superintendent of Education Harry L. Weaver was remembered this week as an effective administrator and astute politician.
Weaver, who served as superintendent from 1957 until 1981, died Saturday. He was 92.
Weaver moved to Brewton when he was 13. He was educated at T.R. Miller High School, Birmingham Southern College and Auburn University. His father, the late Oliver C. Weaver Sr., known fondly as &#8220Mr. O.C.,” served as superintendent of education of Escambia County for 28 years.
Weaver worked as a teacher and principal in the school system for 22 years before becoming superintendent, an office to which he was elected four times. Later, when the law was changed to allow the elected county board of education to appoint a superintendent, Weaver was appointed to the post for eight years.
Former Superintendent of Education Curtis Ray Parker worked for Weaver as principal of Neal High School and in the county office as assistant superintendent.
Parker said if ever Weaver approached you with his hat cocked down over one eye, &#8220you knew to get out of the way.”
Among the challenges Weaver faced as superintendent was racial integration.
Aside from winning elected office four times, one of Weaver's political accomplishments was the passage of a local oil severance tax for local schools.
The late superintendent documented the efforts to pass the tax and the compromises made along the way in a history that is maintained in the school systems' central office, Parker said.
Former Escambia County Sheriff Scotty Byrne agreed that Weaver was an astute politician.
But when Byrne thinks of Weaver, politics don't first come to mind: Dominoes do.
When Weaver retired in 1981, he was given office space for life in the school system's central office. Both Parker and current Superintendent of Schools Buck Powell said it was sometimes helpful to talk with him there.
Powell, who was hired into the Escambia County system by Weaver in the 1970s, said Weaver continued to come to the office almost daily until about four months ago.
For complete obituary information, see Page 3A of today's Brewton Standard.