William Woods Tate, Jr.

Published 2:24pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

William Woods Tate, Jr. age 69, of Valley Grande, passed away Saturday, April 6, 2013.

He is preceded in death by his parents: William Woods and Madelyn Hardin Tate of Selma.

Mr. Tate is survived by his brother: Larry “Lawrence” Ray Tate (Claudean) of Birmingham, AL and Gulf Breeze, FL; Diane Tate Blank (Jonas L.) of Melborne, FL; nephews: William Woods Tate III of St. Petersburg, FL, Jonas L Blank III (Kristy) of New York, NY; and Nieces: Jennifer Tate Harrell (Wes) of Gulf Breeze, FL and Natalie Joy Drake (Steven) of Cullman, AL.

Services will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, April 12, 2013 at First Baptist Church with Dr. Jerry Light officiating and Lawrence Brown-Service Funeral Home directing. Visitation will be 1-2 p.m. Friday at the church. A private burial will follow at Clay Memorial cemetery in Cuba, AL.

Billy Tate was an exceptional gentleman, friend, and mentor to many young people in both Alabama and Tennessee. He was a 1961 graduate of Parrish High School. He earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Alabama and an MA in Speech from the University of Montevallo. He taught at Selma High School for 14 years. During this time he built the debate program from a small club into an organization that won many national level trophies. In 1983 he joined the Faculty of Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) in Nashville. At MBA he again grew the program and his students attained National Championships. Equally, he inspired excellence and confidence in the students through the Academy’s speech program resulting in the same national level award winning student achievement. Billy served as President of the National Forensic League for the last 16 years and is a member of the National Forensic League Hall of Fame. Additionally he was a member of the National Tournament of Champions Hall of Fame and the Alabama Speech and Debate Hall of Fame. Also a Life Loyal Sigma Chi Billy served as Consul at the University of Alabama Chapter. He has influenced the lives of thousands of young people over the last 42 years of teaching, coaching, and mentoring. His focus and dedication were always sharpened by an insistence on excellence. In his final moments he was doing what he loved – addressing over 100 students at a conference at MBA. He will be greatly missed by his past and present students, friends, faculty and most of all his family.

Please visit http://www.lawrencebrownservice.com to make online condolences to the family.

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