Tribute to Doyce Ariail

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The City of Climax and surrounding community has lost another citizen who gave freely of his time and efforts to make life in the small town of Climax more enjoyable for all those he touched.

A role model for many youth who are now adults, and an icon for community service, retired Lt. Col. Doyce Ariail died on Sunday, April 5.

In 1979, Arial decided along with his wife, Ann, and four sons to make the Climax community their home.

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After settling in the small town, they made the United Methodist Church their church home, and thus began the many activities and community services he became known for in Climax and surrounding area.

He was a member of the Climax Community Club, serving in many capacities including the construction and preparation of the Swine Time Grounds, official driver of the Swine Time Princess, served as treasurer and held the office of vice-president. The club presented him with an official 25-year Swine Time walking cane in honor of his service.

In 1984, Gov. Joe Frank Harris presented Doyce with a proclamation for his organization and work with the youth recreation in Whigham and Grady County. Due to his work with the youth in Climax and Decatur County, and his community service, in 1996, he was nominated and chosen as the representative to carry the Olympic torch through the city.

When the City of Climax moved the train depot to the present site, and it became City Hall, Doyce was deeply involved in the moving and extensive renovation program that followed. He was also instrumental in constructing the Climax City ball park and coordinating the renovation and preservation of the Climax gym.

He served on the Cedar Grove Cemetery and ham and egg supper committees helping to benefit the trust fund to care for the grave sites of those interred at Cedar Grove.

He was the patriotic leader in the Flag Day celebration held in the city each year; with his health failing he participated in the last parade 2008 in his wheelchair and won.

Even in his last weeks and days he was involved in the Decatur County Veterans Memorial now being erected in Parker Park.

In 2002, to honor his service, the Climax City Council and then Mayor Carl Davis requested and received permission to name the new four-lane Highway 84 from the city limit’s on the east end to the west the Doyce Ariail Highway. The late Mayor Davis presented a proclamation to Doyce to this affect.

Former City Councilman Charles Hadsock recalls Doyce and what he did for the community.

“Doyce was a good Christian man; he was committed to the Climax United Methodist Church and the Climax Community. Before his illness, you could always find Doyce working on community projects, such as the restoration of the Climax Depot, the Climax School gym, Parker Park and other project to improve our community,” Hadsock said.

“He was very active in many activities, and during his illness, Doyce never gave up. He was a fighter, and never wanted sympathy from anyone. He will be missed in the Climax Community; we extend our sympathy to the Ariail family and pray that the Lord will comfort them during the loss of a loved one.”

Former City Clerk Alma Hart remembers a good friend.

“Doyce was an asset to the City of Climax and surrounding community. I worked with him on many projects as he was dedicated to the service of anyone and any project where needed. He was always dependable. He was a loyal solider, a Godly man and a family man. Over the years I knew him I learned what true friendship was, and I will miss him.”

Verna Barnwell, former Climax City Councilwoman, recalls how Doyce was always ready to lend a helping hand.

“During my terms as city councilwoman, it was always an honor to know that Mr. Doyce Ariail was there lending a helping hand anyway he could to assist us in trying to make Climax a better town. All the work and projects he was involved in will never be forgotten.”

On Aug. 26, 2000, the Rev. Henry Clark and Barnwell, along with the help of all citizens, friends and neighbors around the area, sponsored a friends and family day in Climax held at the depot where Doyce was honored for his outstanding community service, Barnwell said.

On behalf of the City of Climax Mayor Liz Phillips said, “Doyce Ariail was a man who loved Climax and its people, and his church; he wanted to always do his best for both. He was the most active man right to the end. He gave 100 percent plus. In all things he showed integrity, honor, courage, service, commitment, duty, and had a tremendous love for his God, his country and the flag. Many times he made sacrifices for the good of Climax. He was an awesome outstanding man. He never said no. The Ariail family is special to me, I feel like I have lost a family member.”

To this reporter, Doyce Ariail was always supportive and encouraging, making sure I was advised on all projects that he felt deserved media attention, most of the time that was everything having anything to do with Climax. He always expressed his appreciation for the Climax news column. I will miss him too. Condolences are sent to his family.