Isaac Prentice and his wife, Margo, dress as members of the Union Army’s Buffalo Soldiers, who were named for their bravery and strength. (Contributed)

Archived Story

Local couple an asset to Alabaster

Published 4:17pm Friday, October 14, 2011

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Isaac Prentice has led a busy and varied life. Growing up in Tuscaloosa in a family of nine boys and one girl, he moved to Akron, Ohio, at the age of 4 only to move back to Tuscaloosa at age 10.

When he was 11 years old, he was adopted by one of his aunts who, having no children of her own, could afford to give Prentice a chance at a solid lifestyle and education.

After graduating from Parker High School in 1959, Prentice attended Tuskegee Institute where he served in the ROTC before transferring to Stillman College and earning a degree in social science.

He served four years in the U.S. Navy in San Diego, Imperial Beach and the school of Oakland.

He met future wife Margo, who was also in the Navy, and they married in June of 1965.

Prentice later put in two years with the Navy reserves and two years with the Army reserves.

California was home for 18 years, with Prentice filling positions in government agencies in the city of Richmond, the city of Alameda health department and being involved in church, civic and community activities.

An opportunity to take a position with HUD came up in 1980, which meant relocation to Maryland.

Never did they dream the next 25 years would be spent there.

When talk of retirement came up, it took them months and months before they finally decided on Alabama. The Prentices had visited Isaac’s family often, and Margo loved the idea of being close to at least some of her husband’s extended family.

“The South has its charm and I liked his relatives,” Margo Prentice said.

In March 2005, they bought their home in Saddle Lakes.

Dedicated to each other, both will say they are “best friends.” Love for extensive traveling, church involvement, community volunteering and family connections ­– with one grown son and three grandchildren – make their life enjoyable.

Trips to Hawaii, Jamaica and Europe (with Italy being their favorite) are some of their journeys.

In 1995 at a Black History Month celebration, the Prentices were introduced to and amazed by background information of the now famous Buffalo Soldiers.

During the Civil War, this group of black men could fight but never rise above the rank of sergeant. The Cheyenne Indians gave them the name “Buffalo” because they were impressed with their bravery and strength.

In Washington, D.C., Prentice participated with the 9th and 10th Regiment Horse Calvary Association chapter and then later in Baltimore. There are 30 chapters in the United States. When Prentice moved to Alabama, he and his wife were asked to start a chapter.

This group meets the fourth Saturday of each month at the Civil Rights Institute.

Isaac is founding president and Margo is second vice president in charge of membership. Prentice has served on the national board as Parliamentarian.

They meet with school, church and other organizations to promote knowledge of the Buffalo Soldiers, celebrate in Veterans Day parades, functions at American Village and go to conventions.

You will seldom see one without the other. We are glad they have had lots of adventures, travels and experiences, and are proud Alabaster was hand-picked by them to serve as home.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by email at bobthames1942@yahoo.com.

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