Family wants marker to stay on Lon Morris property
Family members of a beloved Jacksonville native want to ensure that a memorial marker stays at Lon Morris College, which will auction off its core facilities next month.
The marker was dedicated as a memorial to Sammy Lynn Noland, who died of cancer in 2003. It sits near College Avenue, next to the parking lot for the administration building.
Noland, a 1966 graduate of Jacksonville High School, came from a large, low-income family. He played basketball for Lon Morris and went on to attend the University of Houston. Later in life, he became a restaurateur and salesman, close friend Gene Brumbelow said.
He said Noland was a great friend through the years and an inspiration to Clifford Lee, a former president of Lon Morris.
"Basically Sammy just epitomized the kind of student Lon Morris loved and embraced," Brumbelow said.
When he died, he said Lon Morris was making improvements on campus. So he and Lee, along with Noland's other friends and classmates, came together and raised about $10,000 for a marker to be placed there.
"It was just a cherry on top..." Brumbelow said. "Clifford was touched. I was touched, and a conversation came up about honoring him as kind of a model representative of the kind of people who got the opportunity (to have an education at Lon Morris)."
Now, his family members don't want anything to happen to it.
"It's my dad's legacy," said Tiffanie Noland, Noland's adopted daughter. "If I don't do something about it, who's going to? I don't want anything to change about it."
"He did so many things and was such a neat person."
Ms. Noland also noted that her father does not have a grave since he was cremated and only has this memorial.
Carl Carter, spokesman for AmeriBid, the company auctioning off Lon Morris' items, said AmeriBid encourages qualified bidders to come and bid on any property in the college's inventory. If someone has an interest in an item that is not in the inventory list provided to prospective bidders, he said they can call AmeriBid, preferably as far as possible prior to the Dec. 13 auction date.
In the meantime, Ms. Noland said she and her family discussed the possibility of making a purchase, depending on the expense involved and how things are sold, or possibly opening up a fund to raise money.
"We want to do something about it, definitely," she said. "We want to save this. I can't see a buyer being able to do anything else in that area. We want to make sure it stays safe and make sure it is a part of Jacksonville."