Cumberland County Schools' High School Athletic Web Site


Posted On  Sunday, Jul. 12, 2009

Sunday Salute: South View sports, laughter were his life

By Kim Hasty 
Staff writer

 HOPE MILLS - You knew Bobby Hair liked you when he picked on you.

"Let me tell you something,'' said longtime friend Ronnie Luck. "This is the honest truth. He would crack on me cause I could take it. I would crack on him cause he could take it.''

Whether he was serving on the football chain crew for his beloved South View High School Tigers or battling cancer, Hair made friends wherever he went.

"We had a little fundraiser for him and his oncologist and her husband drove all the way from Duke to be there,'' Luck said.

Bobby Hair died June 25 after a long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 60. He leaves an indelible memory of a man who loved life and loved people.

"He was the love of my life,'' said Shelly Sweatt.

Theirs was a sweet love story that began five years ago over cups of coffee at Becky's Cafe. He kept her laughing from the moment they met. She remained steadfastly at his side through doctor visits and cancer treatments.

"He made an impact on everybody,'' Sweatt said. "I never laughed so much in my life. I miss him so much.''

Hope Mills was home to Hair. He graduated from the old Hope Mills High and went on to become well-known as a youth recreation coach. He owned a plumbing company and also dabbled in the restaurant business for a time.

But he was perhaps best known for his devotion to South View High athletics. For years, he volunteered on the chain crew on Friday nights. So devoted was he to South View High that he painted his 1987 Mazda truck bright orange and dotted black tiger paws all over it.

Hair had three sons, Chris, Doug and Joey. Chris Hair parked his dad's orange truck at Hope Mills Lake during the town's recent Fourth of July celebration. He said folks he'd never met stopped by to pay their respects.

While the truck was a fixture at football games, Hair rarely missed a basketball game either.

Players on the girls' basketball team, in fact, drew an oversized heart on paper to mark Hair's designated place in the stands. At the end of the season, Sweatt took the heart home to Hair.

Early this year, South View basketball standout Amber Calvin approached Hair about doing her senior project on cancer. He agreed to serve as her mentor and the two developed a special bond.

"He was always smiling,'' said Calvin, who will attend North Carolina A&T this fall on a basketball scholarship. "He was always cracking jokes.''

When she graduated from South View in early June, Calvin brought over her tassel and placed it on his bedside table with some roses.

In recent years, Luck, whose own cancer is in remission, had invited Hair to attend Cross Pointe Church in Hope Mills. Hair and Sweatt were eventually baptized there. Luck and Cross Pointe minister Tracey Pounders were among those who accompanied Hair to cancer treatments.

"He was a fighter, I can tell you that,'' Luck said.

They buried Bobby Hair in a South View T-shirt and the overalls he loved to wear.

"I never thought men looked good in overalls,'' Sweatt said, "but Bobby Hair looked good in overalls.''  


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