Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Waddie Lee Holcombe

Waddie Lee Holcombe, a strong worker and steadfast family man

ST. PETERSBURG — Waddie Holcombe was there when they poured a slab, wading backward in rubber boots through soupy concrete, holding his end of a two-by-four as the truck idled loudly and the cylinder rattled rocks and you had to yell to be heard.

In an industry known for turnover, Mr. Holcombe stayed in the same construction job for 20 years. He toted plywood, drove a dump truck, shoveled dirt and tied steel.

For 20 years, Mr. Holcombe did whatever his bosses at Hennessy Construction Services asked of him — and then some.

Apart from his family, his other major priority lay a couple of miles down 22nd Street S from his job. Mr. Holcombe was a deacon at Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ. On Sundays, his gravely voice opened up in song, often as a solo.

Mr. Holcombe, a powerful man who kept his priorities straight, died Jan. 26, at Bayfront Medical Center. He was 69.

He had staying power, both in physical strength and his ability to stick with an employer.

"He looked heavy, but when you bumped into him, it was a frickin' refrigerator," said Robert Gibson, a project manager at Hennessy. "He was country strong, if you know what I mean.

"A big old super-strong guy."

Mr. Holcombe came to St. Petersburg in the mid 1960s from Alabama. For the next 20 years he worked a variety of jobs, such as construction and delivering furniture. When he found Hennessy, a relatively large company, in the mid 1980s, he latched on.

"He always had his family in mind," said Stephen Holbombe, a nephew. "He realized, 'Okay, if I jump around from job to job to job, I won't be able to provide for them.' "

Away from work, Mr. Holcombe enjoyed fishing and cooking.

Former co-workers remember his strength. On a side job, Gibson and Mr. Holcombe once installed 20 feet of granite curb in an alley by Gibson's residence. "I'm a pretty big guy, and we were both dead at the end of the day," said Gibson, 54. "He did most of the bull work."

"He was real strong," said Clinton "Peanut" Allen, 73, who with 44 years at Hennessy is one of the few to have worked there longer than Mr. Holcombe, who retired four years ago. They worked together. Mr. Holcombe dumped a load of rocks from a dump truck; Allen, a heavy equipment operator, spread them out.

He grew up in Frankville, Ala., the fourth of seven children. He played basketball in high school and loved the game. "He was easy to approach," said older brother Sam Holcombe.

Family and friends also remember Mr. Holcombe's humor. "He had a deep, booming laugh," his nephew said. "He would tease you mercilessly if he knew it got to you, but he always knew when to quit."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or ameacham@sptimes.com.

.Biography

Waddie Lee Holcombe

Born: Jan. 3, 1941.

Died: Jan. 26, 2010.

Survivors: Daughters Latricia Nicole Holcombe and Nani Smiley; sons Roderick W. Holcombe and Pas'Cual Demontrae Smiley; mother Mattie B. Holcombe; sisters Irene Sashington and Mattie Louise Holcombe; brothers Minister Sam Holcombe Jr., Clarence Holcombe, and Phil Holcombe; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Service: Noon Saturday, Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, 2230 22nd Street S. Visitation 5 to 6 p.m. today at the church, wake service 6 p.m.

Waddie Lee Holcombe, a strong worker and steadfast family man 02/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2010 8:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In one day, fundraisers appear to reach goal to move Confederate monument from downtown Tampa

    Politics

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners gave an ultimatum Wednesday to people who want to move a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa: Raise the money yourselves or it stays. They had 30 days.

    It took 24 hours.

    Private money is flowing in to help move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Who are the antifa?

    Nation

    On Monday, President Donald Trump capitulated to the popular demand that he distance himself from his comment that "many sides" were to blame in Charlottesville by explicitly denouncing white nationalism. "Racism is evil," he appeared to grudgingly concede, "including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

    A group of counterprotesters who identified themselves as antifa, or anti-fascists, rest Saturday during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. Counterprotesters in Charlottesville came united against white supremacy, but they advocated a wide array of beliefs, tactics and goals. [Edu Bayer | New York Times]
  3. Lucky carrot: Alberta woman finds mother-in-law's lost ring

    Bizarre News

    CAMROSE, Alberta — A Canadian woman who lost her engagement ring 13 years ago while weeding her garden on the family farm is wearing it proudly again after her daughter-in-law pulled it from the ground on a misshapen carrot.

    In an undated photo provided by Iva Harberg, Mary Grams, 84, holds a carrot that grew through her engagement ring in Alberta, Canada. Grams, who lost her diamond ring 13 years ago while pulling weeds in her garden, is wearing it proudly again after her daughter-in-law pulled it from the ground on a misshapen carrot. Grams, 84, said she can't believe the vegetable actually grew through and around the diamond engagement ring she had given up for lost. [Iva Harberg/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Good luck finding solar eclipse glasses across Tampa Bay, U.S.

    Science

    Andi Figart pulled up to the New Port Richey Library on Thursday morning to an unusual sight.

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 11: Pairs of free solar eclipse glasses sit on display at a Warby Parker store  on August 11, 2017 in New York City. To view the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21 eye protection is essential. The designer eyeglass store expects to give out thousands of pairs of the glasses before the event.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
  5. Republicans face primary in whirlwind special election for Plant City-area House seat

    Elections

    PLANT CITY — With qualifying completed this week, the field is set in a whirlwind special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City — and the race could come down to two candidates in a Republican primary, Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure.

    Yvonne Fry is one of two Republican candidates with strong Plant City ties to quality for a special election in state House District 58.