GARDENDALE — J.B. Salter has lived in Gardendale for over 50 years. He is a former marine, artist and newspaper columnist.
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to my wife, Anna, for a little longer than I’ve lived in Gardendale. I’ve got a son, daughter and three grandkids. One of my grandkids, John Salter, is a mixed martial arts fighter. He won the state wrestling championship a while back in Gardendale and has since made a name for himself.
What’s something you’ve seen change in Gardendale since you’ve been there?
When we first moved here, the city had a service station and a cafe, and not much else. I’ve been all over the world, but this is still my favorite place.
What did you write columns about?
I used to write articles about the outdoors for the North Jefferson News in the 80s. I love the outdoors. I’ve hunted all my life; I started hunting young with a slingshot, then worked up to a gun. I’ve bow-hunted for most of my life. I got interested in it after I met Howard Hill through a friend; Howard was a stand-in for Errol Flynn in Robin Hood (1938) and a master bowman. I painted a portrait of him.
You’re a painter?
In eighth grade I won a blue ribbon at a state fair for art, and it got me started. I went to Gulf States Art School, and I was a sign painter and sketch artist for years.
Tell us about your time in the Marines.
I was in the Marines from 1953-1962. I was a Sergeant and a gunsmith. I was living with my brother, and I couldn’t find a job, and he said I should join the military. It’s the best move I ever made. It taught me to be self-reliant and tough.