Shelby County leadership that is historic

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, February 19, 2013

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

When it comes to leadership and the history of Shelby County, few people know as much as Bobby Joe Seales.

Seales recently orchestrated Shelby County’s 195th anniversary celebration, and that was just one of many such events he has done since 1999 as president of the Shelby County Historical Society and director of our museum and archives.

He graduated from Alabama College, now known as the University of Montevallo. He has held jobs as an internal auditor and corporate credit manager. He is a charter member of Westwood Baptist Church and has spent 25 years as a minister of music and youth.

It is history, however, that is his passion.

He has written the history of Pelham and the First Baptist Church of Pelham, which was published for their 100th anniversary.

Seales’ famous statement is, “History never written is soon forgotten.”

The person in Seales’ history who inspired him to be a good leader was his principal at Camp Branch Elementary School, Mrs. Nannie Dee Durden. He gives credit to all of his elementary school teachers and his family for their unwavering support.

A good leader should “demonstrate an undying love and dedication to issues that are important not only to themselves but to people in future generations,” Seales said. “With all that is happening today, they (leaders) should learn to preserve history by talking and recording it for future generations.”

Seales’ advice for young leaders is “to begin by respecting their teachers . . . all people, thus, gaining the respect from them ”

He says young leaders should choose their words wisely and take pride in all they do. “Listen to what people have to say and examine all the issues. Look at the people you come in contact with, for God has made everyone wonderfully special.”

Seales’ ancestors were in Alabama Territory in 1818 to help form our county. In 1819 Shelby County Alabama Territory became a part of the state of Alabama.

Seales and his wife, Diane, have two children and three grandchildren and live in Alabaster.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident. You can reach her at