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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 23, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: San Jose Country Club begins $300,000 renovation

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

San Jose Country Club began a $300,000 expansion and improvement project.

Watson Ramsay Jr., club president, said a new pro shop and bar for golfers would be added to the facility along with a new wing with lockers and showers for women.

The kitchen in the existing structure would be doubled in size and new equipment would be installed. The plans included a sauna or steam room, new men’s lockers and parking lot improvements.

San Jose Country Club was formed in 1947, a year after the property was acquired by Stockton, Whatley, Davin and Co. from the duPont Estate.

The original clubhouse was designed in 1925 by architect Harold Saxelbye for guests of the San Jose Hotel. The hotel business failed, but the golf course and clubhouse continued as a semiprivate operation for a number of years before it closed in 1946.

• Roy Neering, operator of a local beauty shop, lost another round in his marathon court battle to avoid imprisonment for contempt of court.

After a hearing, Circuit Judge Tyrie A. Boyer rejected a plea by Neering’s attorney, Tobias Simon of Miami, to set aside Neering’s earlier judgment of contempt as decided by Circuit Judge Roger Waybright.

Boyer upheld arguments by Assistant State Attorney Nathan Schevitz that the judgment finding Neering guilty of contempt should stand. The judge said he would set a date for sentencing after he heard what Simon said would be additional evidence that could affect the length of sentence to be imposed.

Waybright, who sentenced Neering to six months for contempt, on Nov. 24, 1964, disqualified himself from the case.

At the time, Waybright said he could not conscientiously find that he was prejudiced against Neering, as Simon contended. But, Waybright added, “No man should sit in judgment of another man who does not have confidence in his fairness.” Another judge was then assigned by the chief judge of the Florida Supreme Court.

Neering was sentenced in May 1961 to serve one year in jail after he was found guilty of contempt of court for attempting to influence a prospective juror in a civil case involving a damage claim by a woman against a grocery store.

Neering appealed and in May 1962, the District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee upheld the conviction but ordered the jail term reduced to no more than six months. That new sentence was imposed by Waybright, but Neering remained at liberty pending further appeals that went as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, which in October 1964 declined to review the case.

Simon then filed the petition asking Waybright to disqualify himself, listing among other grounds that Waybright showed “harshness” in the original sentence of one year in jail.

Neering was free under $1,000 bond pending disposition of his case.

• A Circuit Court jury set a $193,500 price on the last piece of commercial property the City of Jacksonville Beach needed to acquire for its civic center program.

The jury ended a six-day trial by bringing in the verdict covering several buildings along First Street between Pablo Avenue (Beach Boulevard) and First Avenue North.

The verdict earmarked $165,000 for the owner of the real estate, W.R. Lovett. The balance was divided among several lessees for their damages as a result of their interests being taken away in the condemnation suit.

Lovett asked for $183,000 and the lessees a total of $100,000. The city placed the true value to be paid at $175,000.

The land was being acquired by the city as the last parcel needed for a municipal building complex including an auditorium, library and restaurant.

• Floyd Fallen and Arthur Jenkins, who were granted new trials after being convicted of hijacking a truck containing $20,000 worth of whiskey on Dec. 24, 1961, pleaded guilty to the offense.

U.S. District Judge Bryan Simpson set March 12 for sentencing.

Fallen was free on an appeal bond, awaiting a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals on his motion for a new trial on a charge of conspiring to burglarize a post office. He received a 30-year term upon his conviction for the conspiracy.

Seven defendants were originally indicted on the hijacking charge. Five were convicted and mistrials were ordered for the two others.

Soon after the first verdict was returned, an FBI investigation determined one of the defendants bribed a juror to hold out for his acquittal. E.B. Canaday, a former deputy sheriff, was accused of the bribery and later pleaded guilty to the charge and to the hijacking.

Still facing trial were George Schweiger, who operated an auction house along Beach Boulevard where the stolen whiskey was found, and Thomas Jones Jr., a Navy officer stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station when the hijacking occurred.

• The Rotary Club of Jacksonville announced Sammy Spear and his orchestra would provide dancing music for the 13th annual Rotary Charity Ball on April 23 at the George Washington Hotel.

Spear’s orchestra was featured each week on the Jackie Gleason television show.

Proceeds from the ball would benefit local charities, with more than $122,000 raised in the first 12 years of the event.

The annual Rotary Ball was inaugurated in 1952 by Jacksonville Rotarians after being inspired by an address by former Rotary International President S. Kendrick Guernsey, also of Jacksonville.

• Speculation as to whether Billy Casper would play in the $50,000 Greater Jacksonville Open ended with his entry in the golf tournament, scheduled March 18-21 at Selva Marina Country Club in Atlantic Beach.

Casper already had won the 1965 Bob Hope Classic in Pebble Beach, Calif., and was the leading money-winner on the PGA Tour after collecting checks for nearly $91,000 in 1964.

• Professional wrestling was quite the rage 50 years ago in Jacksonville. A five-match card was scheduled this week at the Coliseum and tickets started at $1.

The feature event was an Australian tag-team match pitting Jake and Luke, the Kentuckians, against Fred Blassie and Tarzan Tyler. The teams would battle it out for best of three falls with a one-hour time limit.

In the co-feature, also three falls with a 60-minute time limit, Hiro Matsuda would take on George “Cry Baby” Cannon.

The undercard included Tony “Mr. America” Marino versus Wild Bill Dromo, Gino Britto versus the Young Blimp and Bobby Lane would climb into the ring with Indian Chief Little Eagle.

Also at the Coliseum, a woman was arrested during a Jackie Wilson concert for disorderly conduct by indecent exposure.

Gypsy Dranetta Diane Terry, 24, was booked under $250 bond after being taken into custody after she performed an impromptu dance on the stage during the show.

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