By Marilyn Summers
At the tender age of 96+ and a good deal of my life spent living in Bay Point, I want to tell all of the new residents a little of the early history of this unique place.
My husband, Wilson Summers III, retired from McDonnell Aircraft Corp. at age 56. He managed the southeast region in Dayton, Ohio, after having been an experimental test pilot in the Air Force and for McDonnell Aircraft Corp.
We wanted to retire to a warm climate, so we started looking at Florida–as far south as Naples. It was too crowded in some of the southern cities so we kept looking. A friend who lived in Fort Walton told us to drive down one more time and look at a place just being developed called “Bay Point Yacht and Country Club.” We did and liked the potential so we bought a lot in 1970. We kept driving down from Ohio and Wilson played golf with the developer, Tom Molloy, and two Air Force Generals we knew, while I swam in the olympic-sized pool–and we both enjoyed dining at the elegant Clubhouse.
We built our house on Wahoo Road and moved in in July of 1979. It was an elegant place to live with a gorgeous white stucco Clubhouse with a blue tile roof, a formal dining room, atrium and beautiful large pool with poolside food services. We always dressed for dinner in the formal dining room, meeting our friends and enjoying gourmet cuisine.
The resort was in and out of bankruptcy, so we had wonderful parties in our homes when the Clubhouse was closed.
I wrote the first newsletter by hand each month, another lady typed it and mailed it to out-of-town owners of vacation homes, and I hand delivered copies on my bicycle to permanent residents in Bay Point. We were some of the first few permanent residents in Bay Point. Many of the new homes were owned by friends of Tom Molloy from Memphis, Tenn., as vacation homes.
After having a very active social life before retirement at the A.F. Officers Club, we thought our retirement life would be mostly golf and boating on our boats on the dock behind our house.
It turned out to be just the opposite. These doctors and attorneys from Memphis with their vacation homes, included us in their group and we were even more socially active than before. When they weren’t here on vacation, they invited us to their lovely homes in Memphis where Wilson was a guest at their golf tournaments. We were wined and dined in elegant style, to say the least.
I have outlived my husband of 73 years and all of these wonderful friends. I remain in our home but now have made great friends the age of my two sons now in their 70’s. This is a wonderful blessing since my sons and families live in Arizona and Virginia.
They both feel comforted by the fact that I have so many loving friends and live in such a caring and safe community. That is why I call Bay Point unique. It has some of the most caring people on earth, not to mention our Post Office and Security personnel.
As I read Bay Point News, I remembered that we were here during most of the early days of Bay Point. Jim Moore wrote the History of Bay Point in 2 editions. As I said, we bought our lot here in 1970; it was just a lot full of weeds on an unfinished canal.
We made numerous car trips down from Ohio to watch the development, and we usually stayed at motels on the beach for me to enjoy the white sand and emerald Gulf waters while Wilson played golf at Bay Point.
On one of our visits, we invited the President of McDonnell Corp., John Allen, a scratch golfer, to join us, so we rented a two-bedroom condo near the Front Gate. I noticed a number of strange things but did not know we were also here when Sheikh Almed Yamani, the Saudi Arabian Oil Minister, and his entourage were here for a meeting.
I wondered when I went to the pool to swim why two well dressed men in ties and dress suits seemed to stand guard over three beautiful jet-black haired women–the only other people at the pool. They were probably the Sheikh’s harem. We didn’t learn we were in the midst of this group until they departed and it was broadcast on tv.
Since we were here so early, I knew everyone who built the first houses. They have changed hands many times since all are now deceased.
Wilson and his golf buddies would go to the LikiTiki. It was considered the 19th Hole until it was condemned. I would go there also to meet Wilson after his golf game. I was an active member of the Bay Point Women’s Club, and Wilson was President of the BPIA for one year. There was no office back then so our home had to be the office, and Wilson hired a secretary to do the paperwork. I frequently had to answer our phone and listen to members’complaints. Also, since the Clubhouse was closed, the Women’s Club met monthly in one of the cottages and we all brought food for our meetings. Marion Bruett was the most popular with her homemade Swedish cookies, made on her iron cookie forms–delicious and unusual, to say the least. Marion is long gone, but Till and Marion’s son, Till Bruett, Jr., and family still live here and are very active and contribute to life in Bay Point.
Bay Point has grown and certainly changed over these many years, but it is still one of the safest and most wonderful places to live–so pat yourself on the back for choosing Bay Point for your home!