I went to Montgomery, Alabama today to be with the friends and family of Charles Hughes Spurlock, Jr. Chuck Spurlock passed away Tuesday evening after a year fighting cancer. Chuck was one of the smartest, sweetest, and most interesting people I have ever met. I admired Chuck enormously and today I learned some things about him I didn’t know.
Chuck is originally from Clifton, Tennessee. Over his 60 years he lived in many places, but all in the South. He taught religion, history, and Greek and Roman mythology to high school students in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia. He also led successive debate teams in regional and national competitions.
While teaching in Savannah he began managing Congressional campaigns. He went on to manage gubernatorial and Senatorial campaigns in Tennessee and Alabama. Chuck managed Senator Jeff Sessions’ successful races for Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senator. Chuck was appointed as Sessions’ State Director, and served in that position for 17 years, taking a leave of absence twice to manage successful re-election campaigns.
Thinking about Chuck today made me realize that although I may not always love politics, I am fascinated by people that do, and Chuck was one of those people. He was practical about politics, but he was also extremely competitive. Because Chuck was involved in so many races he must have made an enemy or two. But only from a distance. Anyone that really knew Chuck admired and respected him, regardless of their politics.
I met Chuck when I joined the Senator’s staff in 1997. This was also when he married his warm, beautiful and funny wife Phyllis. Chuck and I traveled with the Senator for three years and I got to know Chuck, and the state of Alabama, better. The usual arrangement had the Senator in a car with his local field representative; Chuck and I would be in the following car. We would plan the day’s events and hopefully some media coverage. In those conversations I learned how much Chuck loved history and politics, but I didn’t realize until today that he was so accomplished in them. What I would give for one more ride with Chuck.
Al.com has a story about Chuck’s passing that includes a good picture and the Senator’s heartfelt statement.
Chuck had a wonderful sense of humor and a happiness about him at all times. As Dr. Bryan said today in the benediction, “I could hear his smile over the telephone.” We could all hear your smile Chuck, I still hear it now.