Gladewater Country Club Honors Local Pioneer - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Gladewater Country Club Honors Local Pioneer

An almost forgotten piece of history was commemorated at the Gladewater Country Club Saturday.  Leroy "Chant" Howard broke through racial boundaries as the first African American caddy in Gladewater.  His name appears nowhere in the Gladewater Country Club.  There are no plaques and no awards, but today Howard was remembered for breaking a little known racial barrier.

"My dad used to talk about how hard it was for him, so I just can imagine how hard it was for my grandfather," said Howard's granddaughter Glenda Thompson-Green.

"He also was probably thinking in this responsibility I must do it well, so that in future generations others will have the opportunity to come behind me and do the same things that I'm dong now," said Howard's relative Bennie Ruth Moore.  In an awards ceremony, Howard was honored for his service as a caddy from 1935 to 1955.  A proclamation from the mayors office was also read commemorated his work.

"I just felt real good to know that he did something like that," said Thompson-Green.  "They're honoring him for doing it."

"Chant was one of my role models in life," said former PGA pro Bobby Sharp.  In a time when black and white lines were definitely drawn, Howard is seen as a pioneer.

"I feel like if he opened that door others were opened," said Thompsn-Green.  "If he didn't, doors never would have been open."  Howard's presence is still felt by many who have come through the Gladewater Country Club.

"I miss him and a lot of people do, and by this very presentation today he knows that we haven't forgotten him," said Sharp.  Howard died in 1994 at the age of 83.  Several members of his family were on hand to accept his award today.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.

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