“Paddlefoot” was my grandfather, Walter D. Hines, better known as Sheriff Hines. My grandfather was sheriff of Polk County for almost twenty years. He was warden of the prison in Polk County and also was a magistrate.
My grandfather reared ten children, his ninth being a child named Hugh Hines. Please allow me to tell you a little about Hugh.
He grew up here in Polk County, attended Stearns Elementary School and graduated from Tryon High School. He was a great basketball player, setting scoring records that still stand to this day. In one game, he scored 42 points. He was a member of Columbus Baptist Church, and was seen there every time the doors opened. After high school, Hugh attended Spartanburg Junior College, where he also set many scoring records. After college, Hugh joined the Air Force and served 25 years, retiring as a Master Sergeant.
After leaving the Air Force, Hugh and his wife Sylvia chose to live in Alabama and have their three wonderful children. Hugh taught Keith, Jennifer and Rhonda to love everyone and be responsible citizens.
Hugh would come home to Columbus every opportunity he had available. He loved attending the Fourth of July celebrations in Columbus and could be seen hanging out at the Cooper’s Gap Baptist ice cream tent all throughout the day. He enjoyed pitching horseshoes, usually on the winning team. He loved dancing to the music and thoroughly enjoyed the fireworks display. He would always try to make it home at Christmas. The large family would gather at the Baptist Church fellowship hall or the Harmon Field cabin. Hugh would be right in the middle of the present slinging and first to the table for all the goodies.
I have never known anyone who had the love and kindness that Hugh possessed. I never heard him speak ill of anyone, but always had something good to say about everyone. He usually had a mischievous grin on his face and was always up for a good joke or prank. He loved singing songs of praise to Jesus, His Lord and Savior. Hugh went to be with the Lord on May 18, 2020. His father, Sheriff Hines, whom he loved and respected deeply, went to Heaven on May 25, 1966.
Out of the ten Hines children, Billy is the only one that remains. Billy lives in Charlotte and retired from Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Department. There was once a saying “when you saw Hugh, you saw Billy”.
Billy was a great basketball player, also serving in the USAF. I only wish Billy lived closer, so I could see him more often. Hugh and Billy allowed me to “tag along” with them when they were teens, even though I was ten years younger. They seem more like brothers than uncles.
By the way, my grandfather acquired the nickname “Paddlefoot” while he was sheriff. If you see me out somewhere, I will tell you that story.
Tommy W. Melton