ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — More than six months after placing a monument in Honeybee Park, family and friends of Rex Aldridge gathered in Honeybee Park to honor the longtime Robertsdale resident and city employee known as the “Bee Man.”
“He was a true public servant,” said Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy. “He was dedicated to the city of Robertsdale and was always there to help people in need.”
The monument includes a free-standing swing and a plaque dedicated to Aldridge which reads:
Mr. Rex Aldridge
Honored this day, September 21, 2020
City of Robertsdale”
The monument, originally slated to be placed at the south end of Honeybee Park near Florida Street in September of 2020, was delayed because of Hurricane Sally, and was not actually completed until October.
Dedication ceremonies were further delayed until March 27 because of concerns over the Coronavirus, Murphy said.
Aldridge, who served 32 years as a lineman with the city of Robertsdale’s Utilities Department, was born in Chilton County in 1921, served with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, followed General George S. Patton during World War II and was a beekeeper from the time he was 8 years old.
Before joining the city, he also served as a lineman for Baldwin County REA, now known as Baldwin EMC.
“I think it’s important when we remember Mr. Aldridge, we remember the time in which he lived,” Murphy said. “When he was born in 1921, people were still riding horses into town and farming with mules. He lived a good long life and had many stories to tell.”
Aldridge, who died in July of 2019 at the age of 98, was also a permanent fixture at the George P. Thames Adult Activity Center, always participating in activities, particularly those involving competitive games, such as Rook, checkers and particularly dominoes where he brought home numerous gold medals representing the center at the annual Alabama Masters Games.
Council members Paul Hollingsworth and Sue Cooper also spoke of Aldridge during the dedication center saying that he was always able to entertain crowds with stories and impart wisdom.
Aldridge’s family, including his wife of 72 years, Edna; daughter, Linda Ottagalli, and son, Rusty, along with five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and their families, also participated in the ceremony.
“I just want to thank the mayor, city council and the city for everything they have done for us,” Edna Aldridge said. “He loved Robertsdale and he loved his family.”
The ceremony concluded with prayer by the Rev. Jonathan Hart with the Robertsdale United Methodist Church.