Molliston died May 1 at his home surrounded by his family and life-long friends. He was born in Talladega on Sept. 17, 1942 to Bertie Patterson Hocutt and Hugo Clinton Molliston. He was a graduate of Talladega High School and Athens State College. He was a member of the Alabama National Guard for five years. From 1974 to 1995 he was employed at Talladega Foundry and Machine, where he served in various capacities. In 1995, he became a partner at ATAP, Inc. (All Things Are Possible) of Talladega. On June 26, 1992, he married Barbara Taylor Molliston of Decatur.
His ancestors came to Talladega County in 1837. He was very proud of where he came from and the city he called home.
Molliston was an active citizen of Talladega. He was committed to his family, his church and his community; dedicating his life to the service and betterment of all those around him. He had been a member of dozens of community and civic groups throughout his life including the Red Door Kitchen, the Red Cross, Citizens Hospital, Heritage Hall, Friends of the Ritz, April in Talladega, the Education Foundation and so many others. He was a life-long, active member of First Baptist Church of Talladega where he served as a Deacon, choir member and member to various church committees.
Chipper and Marcia Washburn, along with Tommy Griffin, were Molliston’s partners in founding ATAP. “We were friends before we took over ATAP, so he was always very easy to work with. He was professional, and always concerned with the employees and their well-being. He always considered what was best for them while keeping the business competitive and sound. He was not selfish in the least. We always kept our salaries and benefits in line with what our employees got, whether it was vacation time or hospital insurance or whatever. From the top down, everybody got the same benefits. He liked that scenario.”
Chipper Washburn added that it was also important that “the company we worked for was God-centered.”
“He always gave Him the credit for our success,” Washburn said. “And it was very much a family atmosphere, and everyone was considered family. They still are. We always kept our doors open. If there was a problem, people we would be expected to go through channels, but we still wanted people to know we were here for them. We were always touring the floor, talking to people. Then, in 2008, we decided it was time for the old guard to start getting out of the way, and we considered selling the company, but we were always concerned that a new owner might not take care of the employees like we wanted. So the company is now employee-owned. For the last four years, the previous owners are the only people at ATAP now that are not owners.
“But working there was more than a job. It was a good place for people to earn a living, but more than that, you looked forward to seeing your friends every day. And he helped make it that way. And since he was more in the human resources part of it, he would be the one people would go to for help if there were family problems or health problems. He always wanted people to know he was there for them.”
Marcia Washburn added that she had been receiving texts from friends and family all day, but two in particular stood out. The first was from someone named Lucy, who said “If there was ever an ambassador for Talladega, Hugo was it.”
The second was from Dr. Charles Lambert, who said he did not believe there was anyone more loved in Talladega.
Shannon Cheatwood, who is the current president of ATAP and has worked there since 1995, said Molliston was “Just a super guy, very compassionate, very generous, very giving. I don’t know how many lunches he bought for people over the years. He’d see somebody he knew and end up buying lunch for the whole table. He will definitely be missed.”
Cheatwood also pointed out that he was always more concerned for others than for himself. “He had cancer for years, but the first thing he always wanted to know was how you were doing, how your family was doing. Words can’t describe what a good man he was, and that’s the honest truth.”
Molliston was profiled in The Daily Home’s Friends and Neighbors section in 2011, but somewhat reluctantly. At the time, he said “I’m in favor of this for one reason and one reason only. I am so thankful to this community for all the love, prayers and support they have given me. I know now I may never get a chance to say how grateful I am otherwise. But I know when things are tough on folks, this town can always find the strength to reach out to them. This is a town that knows how to do that, and is good at it. And I’m still ready to do whatever I can to help out.”