If you go
What: Memorial service for Roy Southard
Where: Shadow Mountain
When: 12:30 to 3 p.m. Friday
• In lieu of flowers, the Southard family asks that donations be made to the Roy Southard Memorial Fund, to help with remaining medical costs from Roy’s illness.
For 34 years, the only fixture more permanent in the Cork and Bottle liquor store than owner Roy Southard was a chair next to the counter.
Anyone who sat in that chair, whether it was one of Southard’s many nieces and nephews or a regular customer, was likely to be treated to a piece of life advice or an old fishing tale.
He knew where the fish were biting and where to find trophy elk. But, most of all, he shared his wisdom.
“He was an uncle, of course, and a grandpa,” Southard’s nephew Kelly Walls said. “But, he was a mentor and a counselor to many people in this town. Instead of buying their liquor and leaving, people would stay, sit and listen to his stories.”
Southard died Sunday in his home at age 70 after battling illness for almost four years. His wife, Judy, was by his side, along with his grandchildren and nephews, who will all remember the kind, honest advice of a working man.
Southard moved to Craig in 1971 and began working at what was then Cork and Bottle Shop and gas station.
He took over the business in 1980, which he owned and operated for 34 years. While he owned the liquor store, he worked a stint at the Hayden Station power plant, sold jewelry across the country and sang in a group called Cross Mountain Band.
He raised his two grandchildren, Amber and Sean, when his daughter, Stacy Guice, was killed tragically in a car accident at age 20.
He lent steadfast advice to every one of his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews — and they all listened, Southard’s nephew Justin Gallegos said.
“He told me the woman I should marry,” Gallegos said. “I brought my girlfriend home and I said, ‘Uncle Roy, this is my girlfriend.’ He sat and visited with her then he told me, ‘Don’t you screw that up.’ He was usually right about everything. He helped so many of us start our lives and become the men we are now.”
Gallegos said Roy and Judy’s house had an open door policy for anyone in the family. He said if anyone needed, they could walk through the front door in the middle of the night and have a place to stay.
Gallegos said Southard had an open heart for troubled children, and he ended up cosigning a loan for one of his young friends who had, at one point, broken into his liquor store.
“He was always wanting to help those kinds of people,” Gallegos said. “You could always count on him being there, whether he could afford it or not.”
He took all of his family members hunting and fishing, ultimately inspiring Gallegos to start his own hunting company, Majestic Trophy Outfitters.
With Southard as your uncle, the sportsman’s life was the only life.
“If you killed a good buck or a fish and you didn’t take it by the store and show him, you were in trouble,” Gallegos said. “That was the hardest part toward the end of his life; that he was restricted to his home. It would just drive him nuts, all those animals being taken, and he didn’t get to see them.”
Gallegos said family members would bring him pictures of animals they’d gotten.
Walls even took him to Elkhead Reservoir in summer 2008, sitting his oxygen down next to his chair and baiting his hook for him.
All Walls wanted was to continue the bond his uncle had forged with him when he was young, when he chose a young Walls to go out fishing with him at daybreak.
“He spent time with me every day teaching me the ropes,” Walls said. “He probably taught the majority of my brothers and sisters how to hunt.”
But he taught his family and friends more than just how to take down a trophy buck or a 30-inch pike.
“It was more like how to believe in who you are no matter what you did,” Walls said. “To him, it didn’t matter if you were the president of a bank or a plumber if you were happy with what you did.”
Hal Glanville, 61, knew Southard for more than 40 years.
Glanville said there wasn’t an inch of land in the county the two didn’t hunt or fish together, arguing like an old married couple every step of the way.
“He was like a brother to me,” Glanville said. “I will guarantee you’ve never had a friend like him. He was a pure human being and the most honest guy ever.”
Glanville said Southard was only angry with him once in 40 years, and it wasn’t because of one of their many differences. It was because Glanville shot an elk that he wanted for himself.
In Southard’s waning years, Glanville still visited his friend almost every day. The two never ran out of stories to trade or arguments to continue.
“I never met anyone who didn’t like him,” Glanville said. “It was just him. The inside of him, his heart and the purity of him.”
Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793 or email@example.com.