Alabama's Turkey Man, Bill Bates, Dies at 89

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

FORT DEPOSIT, Ala. (AP) -- The man who helped Alabama celebrate Thanksgiving for more than 60 years has died.

Turkey farm owner Bill Bates died Monday at his home near Fort Deposit. He was 89. His daughter, Becky Sloan, said he had heart problems.

Bates started an Alabama tradition 63 years ago when he took one of his large tom turkeys to an Alabama governor to pardon. He had done it every year since to promote eating turkey for Thanksgiving. The turkeys were always named Clyde. Sloan says the family will carry on the tradition.

She says her father stayed active in the family's farming and restaurant operations until the end and was always thinking of new things to try.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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