James G. Whitaker, Jr.Mr. Whitaker viewed the highways we ride on as a solid foundation, a path not to be taken for granted.

Though he did not have a college degree, he supported countless young people in furthering their educations by serving on his local school board and the advisory boards for Wallace State and Northeast Alabama Community Colleges.

After graduating from Marshall County High School in 1952, Mr. Whitaker joined the Air Force, and his service during the Korean War earned him a Bronze Star.

After four years in the military, he returned to work with his father at Guntersville Concrete. In fact, he started his own business by taking odd jobs that no one else wanted. From this start, he built more than 115 houses and 60 commercial buildings during the early 60s.

As the need for road work grew, Mr. Whitaker devoted more time and effort doing civil projects. In 1966 he purchased an asphalt paver and business boomed from there on out.

Mr. Whitaker died September 22, 2001. In 1998, an 18-mile stretch of Highway 431 was named the Jim Whitaker Highway, for the man who had taken his company from odd jobs late in the evening to three asphalt plants and three sand and limestone quarries.

He was also a board member for the Alabama Road Builders.

He was married to the late Mary Frances Elrod and raised three children who still carry his dream at Whitaker Contracting.