Former Prattville Mayor C. Gray Price dies
Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser Published 5:24 p.m. CT Aug. 18, 2019 | Updated 5:24 p.m. CT Aug. 18, 2019
PRATTVILLE — Former Prattville Mayor C. Gray Price died Sunday.
Price, 76, served three terms from 1980-1992. He is being remembered as a visionary leader and true character. Before entering politics he was a teacher in the Autauga County School System and served as principal at the Prattville High School Ninth Grade School. The ninth grade was taught in a separate school then, in the current Prattville Kindergarten School building.
Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr. and former mayor Jim Byard Jr. have direct and indirect connections to Price. The men's homes are within a half block of one another in downtown Prattville on Washington Street. It's a stretch dubbed "Mayor's Row," by locals.
"Gray Price was a friend, neighbor and mentor," Gillespie said. "He was my principal in the ninth grade. He taught me so much as a young man then, and later as an adult. So much of what we as a city take for granted today, goes right back to Mayor Price. It was his efforts that laid a foundation for Prattville to become what we are today.
"Prattville lost a leader today."
Politics is serious business in this town, even going back decades when the population was lower. Gillespie's father, Billy Gillespie, served on the city council when Price was mayor. The younger Gillespie went on to represent the same area as his father when he served on the council before becoming mayor.
Price even had a connection to former mayor Mac Gray, his predecessor in City Hall, who served from 1960-1980. Gray was uncle to Julie Price, Gray Price's wife.
Price was Byard's principal too, for a short time. Price was elected mayor when Byard was in the ninth grade.
"Mayor Price was a mentor, neighbor and later great personal friend to Beverly and I," Byard said. "He was key in so many things. He led the effort to extend sewer lines to the Holiday Inn and he got push back for that. There was nothing out Cobbs Ford Road but farm fields at that time.
"But that vision laid the foundation for what we see along Cobbs Ford Road today. Our city has his fingerprints spread all over ... from downtown to east Prattville, he made a difference. He always had the betterment of Prattville first of mind."
After leaving city hall, Price didn't stop paying his civic rent. He served on various city boards and committees. He had a special interest in historical preservation. As mayor, he started the revitalization of downtown, an effort he continued to be involved in for the rest of his life. The bridge on Selma Highway crossing Autauga Creek into downtown is named in his honor.
After serving as mayor, he served as ombudsman for the Central Alabama Aging Consortium.
"Gray Price goes back to the old Prattville days," said Carl Moore, using the term Prattville natives use to describe the city before the runs of growth kicked off in the mid-1980s and continue today. "There will never be another Gray Price. He could keep you in stitches the way he told stories. He was a true character. They don't make 'em like Gray anymore.