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Daniel Webster Hester, Loving Father and Grandfather, Called Pop by Many

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 08-09-2017

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My guest writer this week is my nephew Dan Hall….

Daniel ” Preacher, Sonny Boy” Webster Hester
By Dan Hall
Pop had two nicknames as I remember, I asked him one time as young fellow why some of the men called him “Preacher”. He said it started when he was in about the 4th grade, he said it was getting late in the fall and he didn’t have a coat. One Saturday he and his Dad walked over to the store in McShan to get him a used coat. The only one that was close to fitting him was a hammer tailed frock coat like some preachers wore. When he wore it to school the boys got to calling him “Preacher”, I ask if this made him mad. He said no, he didn’t care because now he had a good warm coat.
Sonny Boy was given to him at Mr. Reid’s sawmill (in Reform, Al) shorty after he went to work there, by an older gentleman working there. I was working there before going into the Air Force, and one day I called him Sonny Boy, I got a look that I had seen before, I was thinking, boy I’m fixing to get it. But all of sudden he began to smile that wonderful smile of his, from then on if I called him “Sonny Boy” I said it in joking way…..

Thanks Danny….Of course, my favorite name for him was Pop…..He was a real good man.

Comments (2)

I heard the nickname “Preacher” for my Uncle Webb all my life. My Dad called him that more than he call him by his real name. “Preacher” is the name he almost always went by at the domino table. It was my Dad’s favorite name for Uncle Webb in any informal setting. Danny’s story is my first time that I had ever heard of the name “Sonny Boy” applied to my Uncle Webb, but I never knew much about his experiences as an employee of the Reid Lumber Company, other than the fact that he worked there for a time. I don’t think that Uncle Webb’s family ever used the name very much, if any. He was always “preacher” to the Bonner’s as well as the Hesters. After all, “Preacher” increased his status, at least in my mind, much more than “Sonny Boy” ever could.

To me, “Preacher” was the ideal nickname for Uncle Webb because he was, in my mind, the ideal example of a quiet, unassuming “preacher man”, who would never blast anyone with rhetoric, but whom his hearers would always believe that the few words he said was the whole truth and nothing but the truth and could always be relied upon even in matters concerning life and death. In other words, he was the quiet, unassuming preacher who directed attention, never upon himself, but who was always in direct communication with his God in a quiet, unassuming way that made every one around him feel a great uplifting.

I am proud to have been associated with a great “preaching” Uncle who, although he never did any formal preaching professionally, he was a very real “preacher” to everyone around him during his lifetime and particularly to all members of his family, actual and extended. I wish I could remember all those occasions in which my Dad would address Uncle Webb as “Preacher” during those domino games that we had at his house and ours on Friday and Saturday nights. Uncle Webb would partner with Billy Bonner, and I would partner with my Dad. The address would always be about the way that the dominoes were running and about the future play. I don’t remember too much about the detail because I knew so little about the theory of dominoes, as I was usually in the game only as an unwilling participant. During those times, I couldn’t help but wonder how Uncle Webb got the nickname “preacher”, as he appeared so unlike every preacher I ever knew, yet he was destined to appear more like what a preacher should be than any I’ve ever known, even those I knew in my quest to become one myself during my time at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The thing about my Uncle Webb was that he always won quietly and unassumingly, and he always lost magnanimously. In contrast, my Dad always won bombastically like he could do no other, and he lost like the world was coming to and end. That in itself made me bot shamed of my Dad and proud of him at the same time, but Uncle Webb, the unassuming “preacher man” was the “quietness that very often leads to fame”.

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