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Al Bazemore
(October 3, 1920 - December 5, 2013)

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Al Bazemore, or Uncle Al, as he liked to be called by his many relatives and even some friends, was born Oct. 3, 1920. His parents were Clarence Walker and Bertha Salzer Bazemore. He had two sisters, Lois “Dimples”, who married Albert Peed, and Bertha “Junior”, who married Jason Elliston. His grandfather on his father’s side, Stephen Marion Bazemore, fought in the Civil War. His grandmother, Cynthia Morton Bazemore’s family goes back to the Mayflower and the Plymouth colony. On his mother’s side, his grandfather, Charles Victor Salzer, the son of a physician in Schontal, Germany, immigrated to America at the age of 18. He was a member of a family of wine growers in Worrstadt along the Rhine in Germany. Al graduated with first honors from Butler High School and went off to college at Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, where he was vice president of the student body. He graduated from The University of Georgia in Athens as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and other honorary societies in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and general science. After graduation, he was accepted into the graduate program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his Masters degree and was working toward his doctorate when he was drafted into the Navy. He served two years as an electronics technician, during which time he shipped out to China. After the Navy, he returned to Chapel Hill, where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry. He was accepted by Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical company, as a research chemist, developing new molecules as potential medications. Gradually, he began to explore the active ingredients in natural materials. Sent to Montreal, Canada to investigate a substance in the brain that blocked the transmission of nerve impulses, he was successful in isolating the active ingredient which turned out to be gamma-amino-butyric acid, the first inhibitory neurotransmitter to be discovered. While at Merck, Al developed other interests. He became involved in Little Theater, in which he performed more than two dozen roles, including Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and old man Cabot in Eugene O’Neal’s Desire Under the Elms. He developed a lifelong interest in classical music, not only as an opera buff, but also as a devotee of chamber music and especially the art song. Along the way, he was accepted into the Mensa Society. Al’s interest in writing led him into the training field, where he developed many training programs, eventually involving the use of the computer as a deliverer in training. Al and his sister, Bertha Elliston, developed the story of their Salzer kin into a book that has been distributed to members of the family, as well as to libraries around the country: Rocker-Wechsler-Salzer: The Story of a German Family in America. In his travels, Al has traversed all 48 of the contiguous states. He made two excursions to the old country. In one, he and his friend, Jules Fallick, did the grand tour of Europe, starting in Portugal and winding up in Scotland, along the way visiting most of the great museums of Europe. Later, Al made a tour of Greece and Asia Minor and the isles in between. Alas, Al never made it below the Equator. He never saw Machu Picchu and the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal, except in pictures. Al returned to Butler in 2007, where he became an active member of the Historical Society. In his retirement years, he was able to devote himself largely to his great love of reading, which was wide and inclusive. His large family includes four nieces, Betty Ann and her husband Ray Durdan, Sue and her husband Roger Clark, Lynda and her husband, Lee Roy Carpenter, and her twin sister, Brynda and her husband Bob Wade; as well as nine greats and more than a few great, greats. Except for Betty Ann, who lives in Columbus, GA, they are all making their homes in the northwest corner of the county, in the wonderful woods of the Bazemore Place, where Stephen Marion Bazemore first settled when he came to Taylor County from his native Gray in Jones County, GA. Special mention must also be made of Al’s great friends, Roz Katz and her son, David; Marion Plotkin and her son, Owen; Jim Lago; Rao Kolluru; Jules Fallick and his wife, Lois; and Jackie Peterson and her husband, North. Al asked that his body be cremated and his ashes scattered over the waterfall on the Bazemore Place. He also hoped that instead of a funeral, his family and friends might opt to gather for remembrance somewhere in the wide open spaces of the Bazemore Place he has loved so much. Al considered himself primarily a seeker; his wishes for his beloved country is that it be able to throw off the shackles of repressive, hidebound opinions and progress once more into the open, experimental, investigative society that has inspired the whole world. (Written by the late Al Bazemore)

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