At age seven, Eugene Passmore worked his first job digging up potatoes where Baldwin EMC is located today. Passmore chuckles to himself and says “twenty-five cents for the day wouldn’t get you far now-a-days.”
Eugene Passmore has lived in Summerdale, Alabama his entire life. The 96-year-old retired World War II veteran’s daily routine is full of activity. Every morning and afternoon you can find Passmore and his group of friends drinking coffee at The Jet Pep gas station in Summerdale. For lunch he eats at the Summerdale Community Center, which he helped start in 1971.
Passmore has always believed in giving back to his community. He served on the board of directors for the Archdiocese of Mobile for more than 20 years and helped start Catholic Social Services of Baldwin County in Robertsdale, Alabama. For 30 years Passmore volunteered in soup kitchens and hauled furniture to local thrift stores.
“I remember being dirt poor during the Great Depression,” Passmore says. “I also remember when President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.”
“In 1937 I got electricity with Baldwin EMC,” he says. “I had two light bulbs in my home and my bill was $1.98.” The same year Passmore bought his first new car, which started a lifelong trend, eventually amounting to 70 brand new vehicles in his lifetime.
Passmore joined the Navy in 1943 and served in World War II until America’s victory in 1945.
While reminiscing on his life, he stops and slowly smiles when he comes to one particular recollection. “My fondest memory is from 1941 when I married Violet,” he said. “We met at a home where I was working and she was the housekeeper. We were married 67 years before she passed away.” Passmore has one daughter, Roberta, two grandchildren, four great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
Passmore has not worked another day since retiring. Instead, he spends his time counting his blessings and swapping tales with those who cross his path with a cup of hot coffee at the Jet Pep gas station.