Saying thanks and happy birthday: Former rec director celebrated

Published 11:30 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

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VALLEY — A retired local recreation director who is still much liked and respected by generations of those he taught sports over the years celebrated his 90th birthday on Sunday. Many of those kids who grew up in Langdale and Huguley visited him on that special day to shake his hand, hug his neck and thank Charles Pigg for the positive influence he had on their life.

The celebration took place at the Langdale United Methodist Church Exchange, located on River Road in the former CharterBank building. At 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday the church offers a meal and a message for anyone who comes by The Exchange.

During the heyday of WestPoint Pepperell, the mill company had recreation departments in each of the local communities where it had a mill. There were recreation departments headed by a director in Lanett, Shawmut, Langdale, Fairfax, River View and Huguley.

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Between Langdale and Huguley, Pigg put in more than 25 years of directing youth sports.

He married the love of his life, Patricia, in 1951. They raised four boys before she passed away in 1996. Those four guys – Jackie, Nathan, Alan and Byron – were at the Sunday birthday party. Also coming by in the 2 to 4 p.m. celebration were Dr. Tim Alexander, the pastor, and lots of church family from Langdale Methodist. City officials and Commissioner David Eastridge were there to extend their best wishes.

“I don’t know if I can make it to 100, but I sure would like to,” Pigg said.

There was a big white birthday cake with “Happy 90th Birthday Pops!” written on it in crimson lettering. Also depicted were nine crimson and white balloons representing the nine decades he’s been on this earth.

As anyone who knows Charles Pigg is aware, he’s a huge Alabama sports fan. Family members are, too. Many of those present were wearing crimson and white Alabama shirts.

When asked what sports he coached, Pigg said simply, all of them that were offered at the time – football, basketball, baseball, girls softball and Pony League boys teams.

“We wanted to do something special for him on his 90th birthday,” said son Byron Pigg, a former East Alabama fire chief. “We don’t know how long we will have him, but he’s always been special to us. He’s Pops.”

Byron and his brothers wanted their dad to have something appropriate for his party. “We brought two rocking chairs,” he said, “one for him to sit in and one for the person he was talking to.”