Bobby Whitmire Raced And Won Against Georgia’s Best

A familiar spot for North Georgia native Bobby Whitmire in the mid 1950s - victory lane at a Georgia short track. Photo courtesy the Bobby Whitmire collection

By Mike Bell
Posted in Feature Stories 12/2/11

For years, Hugh Blackstock has told me about getting with Bobby Whitmire and Charles Probst.  Not thinking that I am getting any older, I figured these guys would be around for years to come.

Then Charles died in a car accident near Gainesville, Georgia.  That made me realize that I’m getting too old and Bobby and Charles were way ahead of me.

I got Bobby’s telephone number from Leonard Cole and called him.  I wanted to meet up with him at Hugh’s shop in Gainesville while John Blackstock worked on MY van.  I emphasize the MY because it’s paid for.

When Bobby got there, I wondered about his age.  He looked no older than my 63 years, but I found out he is 78 going on 79.  Bobby has taken good care of himself through the years.

“I had to,” Bobby said.  “About 1966, I had a heart attack and have been on medication for almost 50 years.”

His birthday is February 5, 1931.

“I was born near the Forsyth County and Hall County line at home,” he told us.  For you young readers, that happened a lot in the thirties and forties – being born at home was what used to be the norm in a rural area.  Now it’s off to the hospital.

“My father was Ray Whitmire and my mother was Agnus Waldrip Whitmire,” Bobby said.  “Daddy was a farmer, or to be more exact, a chicken farmer.  He and Perry Parks went in together with the chicken business.  He finally put out on his own and stayed in the chicken business a lot of years.

“We moved on into Gainesville.  I was raised mostly on West Washington Street, real close to Hugh’s shop.  I went to school in Hall County at Gainesville High.  I didn’t graduate.  I quit in my junior year and went into the air force in January of 1951.  I don’t have any brothers, but I do have two sisters – Helen (married to Curtis Parks) and Evelyn (married to Leonard Coleman).”

“I was always in the chicken business myself,” Bobby continued.  “When everything got real rough, I sold out and went to work for the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and I worked for them until I retired.  You operated under the USDA rules, but the state is the one that checks on everything.  I worked in dressing plants inspecting for the government, either for school lunches or service food.

“I did that until 1995 when I retired after 20 years.  I had owned chicken houses out on Brown’s Bridge Road (in Gainesville).  I had three on one side of the road with my hatchery and two more on the other side of the road.  When I moved my race car shot from over at the airport, I built a garage there at the chicken houses.”

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