Alva L. Haywood was a giant of a man in Georgia journalism. He was a man with enormous talents -- oftentimes self-taught.
Mr. Alva was the man who gave me my first full-time job as a reporter with his newspaper, The Warrenton Clipper, back in the mid-'70s.
I was always very fond of Mr. Alva because I considered him to be one of the most intelligent men I've ever met. I learned so much from this man about being a reporter and how to ask questions -- not just the simple ones, but the more complex questions, too.
Mr. Alva died Saturday at Oconee Regional Hospital in Milledgeville. He had been a resident of the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville. A World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps, he was taken there when his health deteriorated; he had to leave his longtime home of Warrenton -- a town he loved and that loved him.
Mr. Alva, who served as mayor of Warrenton for several years, will be missed by many people. He also had served as an elected commissioner in Warren County.
He was a man of vision. Example: the computer age.
Mr. Alva had read many articles on the subject, and by the time the first computers were introduced on the market, he was more than prepared to meet the challenge of using them and figuring out exactly how they worked. Before long, he was doing computer work for area business people on the side. And, I might add, he was very good at it.
For several years, Mr. Alva served as chairman of the Democratic Party of Warren County and was the owner and publisher of The Warrenton Clipper for many years. He was a former president of the Georgia Press Association, an organization he gave tirelessly to for many years.
Above all, Mr. Alva was a newspaperman through and through. To those who knew him, it was so evident..
Although he was strongly opinionated, he was right so often about many subjects -- even those considered controversial in nature.
He never backed down when it came to making decisions, even the tough ones. When those times arose, he was prepared to take on those who begged to differ with his view. He believed in doing what was fair above all.
He did his homework concerning his view. He was never blinded by the views of others. And though he listened, up to a point, to their views, he was adamant about his own.
Often, many who had opposed his view initially about a particular subject, turned out to feel the same way he did when all had been said and done. Mr. Alva was the kind of man who could make people think out of the box, as the saying goes today.
Mr. Alva also was a loving, caring husband, father and grandfather.
He and his late wife, Julia, raised two fine sons, Allen and Karl, both of whom became newspapermen like their father. Allen is retired from the newspaper industry, and Karl is owner and publisher of The Clipper .
Though Mr. Alva will no longer be around to share his wisdom with those of us who were so blessed to have known him, I shall always remember him fondly.
I will treasure the times we conversed about many subjects, including news stories I covered in and around Warren County through the years. Mr. Alva taught me well. I have often told others, especially young journalists whom I have trained, stories that he shared with me about this business.
I shall always be grateful to my former boss.
He was truly one of my great mentors.