Charles Hayden Abbott, 99, of Lynn Haven, passed away on Tuesday, June 1, 2010.
He was born in Century, Fla. in 1910 and was devoted to Northwest Florida all his life, working to enhance the quality of life for all citizens through his civic work and devotion to educational programs. He was an outstanding athlete who lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track in high school before becoming a professional baseball player with the Southeastern League. He played baseball against Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, among others. He went to spring training with the Boston Red Sox in 1930, before a knee injury ended his major league aspirations.
He served his country with distinction and honor in World War II as a Chief Electricians Mate in the United States Navy, where he was stationed in San Diego, San Francisco, and Pearl Harbor. Except for his years in service, he has lived in Panama City since 1937, working as district manager of Gulf Power Company and owner of Abbott Refrigeration. He was the great great grandson of the man who served as sheriff of Northwest Florida in 1825 when it was a territory. He was appointed sheriff of Bay County by the governor in 1961, where he served for two years. He was director of the Law Enforcement Assistance Center for sixteen years, where he promoted law enforcement training throughout Northwest Florida.
He served his community through the First Presbyterian Church, where he was an Elder Emeritus, also through the Boy's Club and Rotary Club of Lynn Haven, where he was named the club's first Paul Harris Fellow. He had been involved in every aspect of the law enforcement program at Gulf Coast Community College since it began, including service as a founding and sustaining member of the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee and as a valuable guide during a period between program directors. He attended every law enforcement graduation ceremony since the program began, until 1998 when his health prohibited him from attending.
The College recognized his extraordinary service through the Charles H. Abbott Award for Academic Excellence, which is given to the student in each law enforcement class with the highest academic achievement. He was a member emeritus of the Gulf Coast Community College Foundation for many years and a four-term director and two-term treasurer. He and his beloved late wife, Mary, were benefactors of the Foundation for many years and continued the support for many years, donating to the Honors Plaza Endowment Campaign. The members of the District Board of Trustees named the college's law enforcement training facility the Charles H. Abbott Criminal Justice Training Academy.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Rigell Abbott and brother, Bryan Abbott.
He is survived by a niece, Lenore Hilbert; three nephews, Frank Abbott, Jim Gaunt, Richard Gaunt; great nieces, Leigh H. Webb; great nephews, W. Guy Hilbert, Dr. Frank Abbott, Terry Abbott; great great nieces, Hayden Hilbert, Dabney Abbott; great great nephews, Kyle Hilbert and Christopher Abbott.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church of Panama City with Dr. Richard Watson officiating. Interment will be in the Bayview Cemetery, Pensacola, Fla. at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Charles & Mary Abbott Scholarship Fund c/o Gulf Coast Community College Foundation, 5230 W. Hwy 98, Panama City, FL 32405 or to the First Presbyterian Church of Panama City, 100 E. 7th St., Panama City, FL 32401 in memory of Charlie Abbott.
Wilson Funeral Home
Family Owned Since 1911
214 Airport Road
Panama City, Fla.
Wilson Funeral Home - Panama City
214 Airport Road
Panama City, FL 32405