By Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The former director of the Orange Public Library, Richard Lee Mobley, died July 10 at a Montgomery, Ala., hospital. He was 60 years old.
Mobley spent about a dozen years heading up the Orange Public Library, and books and knowledge defined the man.
He began his career with the Pintlala Branch Library, part of the Montgomery Public Library System.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama in 1969 and his master’s degree from Florida State University in 1975, he worked as a seventh-grade teacher before becoming a librarian.
Mobley worked not only as a school librarian, but also as the corrections librarian at Belle Glade Correctional Institution in Florida. While in Florida, he also worked at the Florida Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Daytona Beach.
Eventually, Mobley made his way to Orange where he not only became director of the Orange Public Library from 1981 to 1993, but also director of community and public services in Orange.
While in Orange, Mobley made an impact on many people who remember him for the special person he truly was.
Dorothy Garrison worked at the Orange Public Library for 25 years before leaving in 1997. She served with Mobley as his secretary during his stay at the library.
“He was an exceptional man,” Garrison said. “Everything good you ever hear about him is true. He was a true gentleman.”
Garrison said Mobley was the type of man who liked to get things accomplished, but never sought the recognition for his work.
“He liked to stay in the background,” Garrison said. “He liked to make sure things were done right, and he was never pushy. I think that is why he was so well liked.”
Others who worked for the city of Orange also had a lot of respect for Mobley.
“I really got to know him through city business,” said Sam Kittrell, chief of the Orange Police Department. “We worked together on city budgets and other stuff, and he was just a wonderful man who really believed in what he was doing.”
Kittrell’s respect for Mobley was barely able to described by mere words.
“He was the salt of the earth and one of the best people you could ever meet,” he said.
Malinda Miller has been employed at the Orange Public Library since 1981. She was hired by Mobley.
“He was an extremely nice man,” Miller said. “He is the person most responsible for getting us automated here at the library with computers, and he helped start many of our programs.”
Miller said Mobley was always busy and usually “locked away in his office,” but he was the type of man who would not ask you to do something he would not do himself.
“Mr. Mobley even took his turn working a night shift once a week,” Miller said with a laugh. “He excelled at multi-tasking. If he was doing one thing, then he was probably doing many more.”
Current head of the Orange Public Library, Brenna Menasco, was also hired by Mobley in 1991 as a part-time employee before making her full-time in 1993.
“He was very professional,” Menasco said. “But he was also very quiet. He really didn’t complain about thing, he just did what he had to do. When they asked him to take the other position over the parks for the city, he did it willingly. He was the type of man you just enjoyed working for.”
Mobley leaves behind his wife, Ann, of 38 years and daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and David Krummel, and two grandsons, Zachary and Dylan, as well as two sisters, Kay Humphrey and Patti Wesson; and, one brother, James Mobley.