By: Tammy Andrews
Not much happens in the sleepy little town of Cragford, but you wouldn’t have ever guessed that if you rode through there on Sunday, July 26th at 2:00 PM. That’s because on this historical date, the usually empty street was filled with citizens who had come to see Cragford’s most prominent citizen, Mr. Buster Robertson, as he was honored in a timeless fashion with one of the highest regards bestowed upon him and his family name.
Under this beautiful, yet sweltering, hot July day, well over a hundred people came out to watch history in the making as the Cragford Bridge was renamed The Buster Robertson Bridge. A most fitting honor, anyone would say who knows this kind man. Important political figures were speakers at this ceremony, such as State Senator Gerald Dial, State Representative Richard Laird, Major General Commander Mark C. Bowen and Brigadier General Wendell McClain as the unveiling took place.
So, what does one achieve in life to deserve such an honor? Well, that list is long and is still ongoing. Mr. Robertson’s lifetime accomplishments speaks volumes, without ever leaving his hometown. Eighty seven years in Cragford, Alabama and although he has watched his birthplace dry up a little more with each passing year, seeing nothing but boarded up businesses in his hometown, to him it is still paradise.
Buster was born in Cragford on January 9, 1928, right next door to the home he has owned now for almost 70 years now. As a young boy, he would work in his grandfather’s Auto Shop, which would one day be passed along to him. Buster would serve as owner of this successful business until he retired in 1994, leaving his son, Larry to take the reins as a fourth generation owner. Robertson’s Garage is considered to be the epicenter of Cragford, even now as the trusted family name keeps the business successful.
Buster graduated from Cragford School, which is no longer running, but serves as the Cragford Community Center. Buster married the love of his life, Mary Jo Walker, and was blessed with three children, Susan, Deborah, and Larry. Later, they would watch this family grow to add three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Sadly, they would also say good-bye to daughter, Deborah, after she lost her bout with cancer.
Buster and Mary Jo’s sixty seven years of marriage is one for the storybooks, because they don’t make marriages like that anymore. Buster said good-bye to his beautiful bride in February 2015, with promises to see her again one day in eternity.
Buster was a busy man with a strong work ethic. Besides running a successful business, he also served on the Board of Directors at First State Bank for over 30 years, and even served on the Board at Alabama Motorsports Hall of Fame. Buster was also a founding member of the Cragford-Corinth Fire Department, serving 22 years as an active member. He was also a Charter member of the Lineville Quarterback Club.
Buster loved Auburn football and was a 10 lifetime member of the Auburn Alumni Association; Buster was very proud of the fact that all of his children graduated from Auburn University. Buster served with the Alabama National Guard Unit for 36 and a half years before he retired.
One of the Buster’s highest priorities in life has been his relationship with God. The Robertson family have always been active members of the Cragford Baptist Church, where he has served as Deacon for over 60 years and running.
Even now in his retirement, he still works some on lawn mowers and tractors, and keeps the grass cut at the church and community center. Buster has worn many hats well in his lifetime, to the degree that he leaves some tall shoes to fill one day.
Throughout his lifetime, Buster has watched the Cragford Bridge go from an old iron bridge with wooden floors to a beautiful curved bridge that ends almost at the front door of Robertson’s Garage. And from now on, he will look at it very differently.
If you look closely as you ride over the bridge, you will see a well-built bridge with a good, solid, foundation. The curved architecture shows a uniqueness about the fine structure that no one else can mimic. Just like its new namesake…
Congratulations, Mr. Buster Robertson for giving this bridge a good name. You may not think you are worthy, but everyone else in Clay County thinks it’s well-deserved. And Thank you for adding just a little more character to our county