Let there be no doubt – Blount County lost one of its biggest assets last week with the passing of Charles Carr.
Charles was more than just the executive director of the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce. He was a man who loved Blount County. Her beauty, her people, her culture, even her business and political landscape.
Charles was Blount County through and through. He was raised here as the eldest son of perhaps the county’s most well-known person – six-term sheriff J.C. Carr.
He went to school at Auburn but came back to Blount County to teach school for more than a decade. He later moved to Montgomery with his wife, the former Brenda Maynor, to work on the staff of Gov. George Wallace.
He also worked for Gov. Guy Hunt before retiring from Montgomery and returning home. He was working for Community Bank when he was chosen to head the chamber in 2002.
As the director of the chamber, he was probably the biggest cheerleader the county has ever had. From his meetings with long-established contacts in state government to his endless recruiting of businesses to our area, Charles Carr worked to make our county a better place.
The product of his labor can be seen throughout the county. From the industries located along 160 to a steel manufacturer at Cleveland and a building supply in Oneonta. All of these – and many more – can be either directly or indirectly traced back to him.
Yes, Blount County lost its biggest fan. His legacy, however, lives on. Just look around as you drive home today or to and from work tomorrow. Look at Blount County, its beauty and its people. You’ll see what Charles Carr saw and why he loved it so.
Personally, Charles was a friend. He and I spent a lot of time together discussing many things but mainly Blount County – its characters and its scandals, its heroes and its problems.
When I came to the paper in 2003, one of the first visitors I had was Charles Carr. As he would later do when I became editor and then owner, he congratulated me and offered any assistance he could provide. I told him each time how appreciative I was and how much his offer meant to me.
Charles came by my office two weeks ago to talk about really nothing in particular. I enjoyed those conversations and probably learned more from him than I would care to admit.
As he was leaving, he said what he always did, “You’re a good friend, Robert.”
As were you, Charles. – rr