We consistently have customers stop by the store asking about Dr. Gudger so we thought we would take this opportunity to tell his story.
Garlan Gudger, Sr. was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 13. His doctors told him that he would not likely see his 45th birthday. He decided at an early age to prove them wrong. Through his teenage years he fought the disease by being active. He worked out and was heavily involved in sports, playing football into his college years. His theory was that living a disciplined, active, and healthy lifestyle was good medicine. Now 70 years old, he has proved the doctors wrong.
Garlan Sr. has worn many hats in his lifetime. Those who stop by asking about Doc knew him as Dr. Gudger during his tenor as Dean of Wallace State Community College. Many will stop by asking about Coach. Now grown, these men played for him during his early career as a high school football coach. Big G is another name we hear quite often from folks around town who know him from his many years at the store, which got it’s start in 1969 when he began salvaging architectural antiques as a hobby, storing them in his garage. A few years later he opened a small store in North Cullman which has grown into the South’s finest collection of architectural antiques, now run by his son, Garlan Jr. aka Little Gar.
Recent years have seen a decline in Dr. Gudger’s health. The diabetes has taken it’s toll resulting in quite a few surgeries, including one in 2005 that took his leg from the knee down. In 2007 Dr. Gudger underwent a kidney transplant, receiving a donor kidney from Garlan Jr. He’s also had recent bypass surgery as well as eye surgery. It’s been a rough road but one he continues to travel with tenacity and perseverance. He is still a man of discipline, working out 3 times each week at the rehab center. Although his health will no longer allow him to run the store, he pays a daily visit to tell Garlan Jr. and Jeff what they are doing wrong! He stays just long enough for everyone to know that he’s still the boss. If he’s in a good mood, we might get a story or two out of him.
Next time you stop by Southern Accents be sure and ask about Doc, Coach, or Big G. He loves seeing old friends and if you’re fortunate enough to catch him here he just might share one of his tall tales with you!
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