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Dr. Humphries ‘never forgot Apalachicola’

Apalachicola Mayor Brenda Ash was among the many dignitaries
to speak Saturday in remembrance of former Florida A&M University President
Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, Sr., who was eulogized as a mentor, recruiter,
leader, visionary, and innovator.

Ash said Humphries, a native of her waterfront community,
was taught by Roman Catholic nuns in elementary school at Holy Family before moving to Quinn, a
segregated high school. He followed his two older sisters to FAMU, from where
he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in chemistry in 1957.

Ash said Humphries’ ties to his hometown remained strong,
and he was working on several initiatives to bring development to Apalachicola
at the time of his death.  

“I commit to work with others in and beyond our city on
efforts to fulfill his mission for his hometown,” she said. “Dr. Humphries
never forgot Apalachicola, and Apalachicola will never forget Dr. Humphries.”

During a two-and-a-half-hour service, Humphries’ surviving
relatives and other mourners heard greetings from President Joe Biden and Vice
President Kamala Harris, resolutions from members of Congress, and local and
county governments and organizations paying tribute to FAMU’s eighth president.

President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., whom Humphries recruited to
FAMU in 1997, praised him “as a visionary, whose brilliance was on constant
display, especially regarding his concern for students and their success.”
Humphries’ premiere scholarship program was called “Life Gets Better.”  

His desire for all FAMU students, Robinson said, was that
because of their education and experience on the Tallahassee campus, “their
life and the lives of their respective families would indeed get better.” 

Humphries, who died in Orlando on June 24 at age 85, was
lauded for his 16-year tenure viewed as the “golden age” of FAMU. He is
credited with the re-establishment of the FAMU College of Law, and the  established FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Program,
which laid the foundation for FAMU to become a top producer of graduates who
would go on to earn doctorates.

Glenda Baskin Glover, Ph.D, president of president of
Tennessee State University, a job Humphries held for 11 years,  said  that even in the last days of his life, he was
still offering solicited and unsolicited advice. “He was like a fruit tree,”
she said. “He was always producing good fruit in season.”  

after a two-year stint in the military, Humphries a
doctorate in physical chemistry, the first African American to obtain a Ph.D.
in his discipline from the University of Pittsburgh. While in graduate school,
he met Antoinette McTurner to whom he was married for 46 years.

During the
funeral, Laurence Humphries, youngest of Humphries’ three children, remembered
their mother’s sacrifice that enabled their dad to fly all over the country to
recruit students and champion the interest of historically Black colleges and

Humphries is to be buried alongside her in Pittsburgh. 

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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