09/09/07 — Baddour could be post office namesake

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Baddour could be post office namesake

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 9, 2007 2:20 AM

For Philip Baddour Sr., a man who spent all of his adult life working and serving in downtown Goldsboro, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield is offering what those who knew him are calling a "fitting tribute" -- the potential naming of the William Street Post Office in his honor.

"I thought it would be appropriate to name the Goldsboro Post Office after a man who contributed immensely to the city of Goldsboro," Butterfield said. "Philip Baddour Sr. was a humanitarian who was respected by all who knew him. That is his legacy."

Butterfield explained that he came to know Baddour over the course of many years as their paths continued to cross, first while Butterfield served as an attorney and judge in eastern North Carolina, and then later when he became increasingly active in the state Democratic Party.

It was because of that familiarity with Baddour that the decision to introduce the bill -- with the help of the other 12 members of North Carolina's congressional delegation -- was an easy one to make.

And, said Philip Jr., it was a decision that had the Baddour family's blessing.

"My family is very, very proud of my father and what he accomplished," he said. "We're very grateful to Congressman Butterfield for what he's doing. This was his idea and I think it's a wonderful honor for my father."

Baddour Sr., the son of Lebanese immigrants, was born in 1915.

He served on the Goldsboro City Council from 1979 to 1995, and owned several downtown businesses for more than 30 years, including a small clothing store on John Street and a soda shop and Western Union franchise on Walnut Street.

He also served as director of Wayside Fellowship, was active in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, was a member of the Lions Club and was a lifelong member of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, spending time as chairman of the parish council.

Through the years, his many honors included the Cancer Society's Outstanding Crusade Volunteer Award, the keys to the city of Goldsboro, a resolution from the N.C. League of Municipalities for his years of services and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from Gov. James Hunt.

He died in 2002.

"My dad loved this community dearly, giving many years of public service in many capacities. He cared very deeply about the people in this community," Baddour Jr. said.

As a city councilman and mayor pro tem, former city manager Richard Slozak said that he remembered Baddour as a very popular and engaged public servant -- concerned not only about spending the taxpayers' money wisely, but also about improving the city's road and utility infrastructure.

In the age of at-large council elections, Slozak said that Baddour was "the top vote-getter many times."

"He wanted to help everybody. He was very conscious of citizens' requests, and he championed the working man. He was a very community minded person," he continued. "Phil Sr. never put on airs. What you saw was Phil Sr. He was a very genuine man."

And it was that quality, Baddour Jr. explained, that made his father a great man.

"I think he just had a deep affection and feeling for what he called the 'little man' -- the average working person in this community," he said. "He loved this community, because he knew what it had done for him and his family, and he just wanted to give back."

In fact, the Goldsboro attorney continued, it was his father's example that led him into public life, serving as a state representative for eight years, part of which was as the Democratic majority leader.

"I learned a great deal from my father. He loved listening to people, and I learned a great deal from him about how to respond to people, and I hope I do it as good as he did," Baddour said. "He was certainly a role model for me and my four brothers. He taught us ... just so many little things."