Look Back ... to the on-duty death of Oxford's police chief, 1948

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May 9—May 9, 1948, in The Star: The police chief of Oxford, Robert Alonzo Sparks, gave his life for his city while on duty two days ago. Chief Sparks, 68, a member of the Oxford Police Department for 20 years, and a fellow officer, Doc E. Billingsley, 35, were shot Friday afternoon attempting to arrest a suspect. Services for Chief Sparks will be conducted this afternoon at the Oxford Methodist Church; interment will be at Oxford Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Mary, four sons and two daughters. Also this date: L. D. Strom, War Assets Administration's Southeastern regional director, today warned purchases of World War II portable flame throwers not to use them, since they are "very dangerous," but to immediately get in touch with the agency's Atlanta office. Strom explained that a few of the flame throwers were declared surplus and put out for sale before officials decided they need to stay in government hands. Additionally: According to a joint announcement made today in Montgomery by the presidents of the institutions, Alabama and Auburn will face off against each other on the football gridiron on Dec. 4. This will be the first formal collegiate game between the two schools since 1907.

May 9, 1998, in The Star: The United Way of East Central Alabama is hoping that its third executive director in just over a year will be a charm. Rodney Greenwood, 38, of Saks, a former chairman of the board of the nonprofit, will take over the organization in two days, succeeding Sherry Sandidge. Sandidge came from Florida not long ago after a national search but is already leaving under circumstances board members aren't talking about. Greenwood is a former insurance and medical supplies salesman.