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Bob Jones’ first principal passes away

Ebb Deason shares a laugh with Dr. Dee Fowler during a tour of James Clemens High School. Dr. Bryan Clayton, the principal at James Clemens is in the background.

Madison’s Bob Jones High School lost  a true “Patriot” this week with the death of its first principal, Elbert ‘Ebb’ Deason.

Deason, 80, of Meridianville, retired from the Franklin (Tenn.) County schools in May after an education career that spanned 54 years, including principal at Bob Jones when it opened in the early 1970s.

Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler was a teacher at Hazel Green High under Deason when he was principal there from 1978 to 1989.

“Mr. Deason was a great educator and gentleman. He has had a positive influence on several generations of educators. Education was a part of his DNA. He will be missed,” Fowler said in a statement Monday.

Deason accompanied Fowler on a tour of Madison’s new James Clemens High School just four months ago.

A Walker County native, Deason got his start in education as a teacher and coach in Winston County schools. He landed a teaching job at Madison County High in Gurley in 1967, became principal at Madison Junior High eventually principal of Bob Jones High when it was part of the Madison County School System.

During their tour of James Clemens High School in August, Deason recalled in a Huntsville Times story his meager beginnings in education: his first school in Winston County had no indoor plumbing, the nearest telephone was 15 miles away and his annual salary was $2,600 with no supplement for being head football, basketball and baseball coach.

Deason was an avid rose gardener and active in Meals on Wheels. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Owens Cross Roads Church of Christ, followed by the funeral at 2 p.m.