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Long-time Troy businessman

Tommy Wise dies Monday

By BRIAN BLACKLEY

Managing Editor

May 15, 2000 10 PM

Tommy J. Wise, a man whose business interests in Troy date back nearly 50 years,died Monday in Edge Regional Medical Center after a bout with cancer. He was 72.

A co-owner, owner and manager of Wise Office Supply since 1956, Mr. Wise is a man who loved his work and his community, family members said Monday afternoon.

"He absolutely loved what he did," said his wife, Yvonne Keel Wise, of Troy. "He never woke up a single day in his life when he dreaded going to work at the office in Troy."

Mr. Wise, a native of Waycross, Ga., came to South Alabama in 1948 after he had spent three years in the United States Navy. His parents had relocated to Dothan and after a brief stint at Auburn University, Mr. Wise decided it was time to go to work to pay the bills.

"He went on the G.I. Bill, but he was tired of starving while he was in college and he decided to go to work," Mrs. Wise said.

He landed a job at Hudson Office Supply in Dothan 1949. After seven years of hard work, he found himself partnering with his boss, Jeff Hudson, as they pursued purchasing a business in Troy which Mr. Wise would operate for the next 40 years.

In 1956, Wise and Hudson purchased Jernigan-Coleman Business Service in Troy. For the next 10 years, Wise ran the newly named Hudson-Wise Office Supply.

In 1966, Mr. Wise had the opportunity to buy out his partner and become sole owner of Wise Office Supply. He continued to operate and manage the business until the late 1990s when he sold it to his sons, Lyle and Lane.

Mrs. Wise said her husband’s work ethic was a driving force in his life.

"There was probably not a person who worked longer or harder than Tommy Wise," she said. "Work was just something he loved."

His appetite for work extended beyond his ownership of the business he had worked so hard to foster and create.

"Even after he sold the business to the boys, he still went in three days a week," Mrs. Wise said. "He had always started early and worked late ever since he came to Troy and he just kept working. He used to tell me not to tell the boys, but that he would work for free if they wouldn’t pay him."

Mrs. Wise said her husband remained devoted to his church and to his community until his dying day. A member of Park Memorial United Methodist Church, Wise also served Troy as a past president of the former Troy Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Troy Country Club.

"He loved this community," Mrs. Wise said.

Included in the procession will be a pass by Wise Office Supply, where Mrs. Wise said she wouldn’t be surprised to see her husband order the procession to stop so he could check the mail.

"It would be some surprise," she said jokingly. "I know he did love that business so."

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Dillard Funeral Home in Troy. Visitation is scheduled tonight from 5 to 7 p.m.