James Grady McCalmon, the former city manager who spearheaded the construction of the Phenix City Amphitheater and Riverwalk, died earlier this week. He was 76.
McCalmon died Monday night in a Rome, Ga., hospital after “an extended illness,” according to his obituary with Summerville’s Earle Rainwater Funeral Home. At the time of his death, the Cloudland, Ga., resident was serving as city manager of nearby Summerville.
McCalmon held the city manager’s position in Phenix City from 1990 to 1996. It was during his two-term tenure that planning and construction of the Phenix City Amphitheater and Riverwalk began.
Sonny Coulter was Phenix City mayor when McCalmon guided the day to day operations in the city. He said he remembers the Bremen, Ga., native most for his professionalism.
“As mayor, I was always just very pleased with his job performance,” Coulter said Friday. “He was very easy-going. He had an even-handed approach to everything...He was one of those rare people who, in serving as city manager, was able to stay out of the politics of the job.”
“He was one of those people who not only could work for you, but also be a good friend,” Coulter said.
McCalmon resigned from the Phenix City post in February 1996. He and other city officials never publicly disclosed the reason for his resignation. McCalmon was replaced by former businessman Bobby Gaylor.
McCalmon eventually headed to Summerville to become city manager for the second time. He had held the position there right before he came to Phenix City about 20 years ago.
A funeral was held Thursday at the Cloudland Presbyterian Church and burial followed in the church cemetery.
Survivors include wife Nancy, a son and daughter.