Former Phenix City Mayor Lee Lott died Thursday afternoon at his home in Phenix City.
Lott served as Phenix City’s mayor in 1967, in an era when the mayor was selected from among the City Commissioners. He was first elected to the commission in 1965 and decided not to seek reelection in 1968. Lott also served on the Glenwood School board of trustees when the school was first built, on the Cobb Memorial Hospital board of directors, the Phenix Girard Bank board of directors. He also served as county probate judge.
Lott was known as a staunch defender of his city’s reputation.
Lott once took issue with a statement made by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent who said gambling and prostitution, once the bane of the city, were “on the rise again” in Phenix City.
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“I take (the agent’s) statement with a grain of salt,” Lott told reporters in 1967. “Apparently he does not know what he’s talking about.”
That same year, Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox made a public statement comparing a beleaguered, crime-riddled Georgia city to Phenix City. Maddox later called Lott to apologize, which Lott listed as one of the high points of his administration.
Phenix City Councilman and unofficial city historian Jim Cannon called Lott a “mentor” of his both as a public servant but as a student of the city’s past.
“He could easily have written a book about Phenix City, he knew so much,” Cannon said. “He probably knew as much about the city as anybody.”
Lott wrote a weekly column for The Phenix Citizen for years, Cannon said, focusing on folksy topics and memories.
“He’d write about growing up in Phenix City, little corner grocery stores, drive-ins,” Cannon said. “The reason I started taking the paper was to read his articles.”
Lott was born Sept. 7, 1931 in Monroeville, Ala. He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War and later was owner of Hogan-Lott Plumbing Supply.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, June Pitts Lott, a daughter, Rebecca Lott Meredith and a son, Charles Kenneth Lott.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Summerville Baptist Church.