Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 10, 2016

Are We There, Yet?

Jay Edwards

I passed a truck the other day and the sign on its door read – “Akers Window Cleaning,” which made me think of a guy I knew from my days in the bond biz, another lifetime ago. The guy’s name was Dave Akers, and his nickname (anybody who was anybody got a nickname) was “Disco Dave, Akers of Diamonds.” Named I believe by my old friend Tim “Parmigiana” May. 

It was a two-part nickname. The second part came from a mantra of sorts. Back in those days we were given little brown books, which contained bank and S&L information, and as our boss Willie Hickerson was fond of saying, was filled with “Acres of Diamonds.”

So Dave became “Disco Dave, Akers of Diamonds,” which was later shortened to “Disco Dave,” which was later shortened to just, “Disco.”

The Disco part of the nickname, as I recall, came from a dark blue sport coat that Disco wore, that had loud white stitching. It may even have been velvet. And the legend grows, all thanks to the clever Mr. May.

“Disco Dave, Akers of Diamonds,” took all the ribbing with a smile on his face, which made sense because there has never been a nicer guy. This was a good thing because he was also the strongest guy on the bond floor. You could throw in the stockbrokers as well and still found no one close to his strength. But that’s not saying much. Stockbrokers are a frail group as a whole.

In fact, Disco had another nickname before Disco, which was Popeye, because of his huge forearms. But that name faded out. Because when you get a great nickname like, “Disco Dave, Akers of Diamonds,” nothing else really compares.

It was Disco who gave me my nickname, well one of them anyway. Actually he was the only one who ever used it. He started calling me Jay-Foo, after KM and I came back from a little trip to north Arkansas back in 1982.  

That was the day when Keith and Kate Haigler, members of the Foundation of Ubiquity (F.O.U.) Church near Jasper, died. They planned to die, saying that in three and a half days they would be resurrected.

KM and I were about 40 miles south of Jasper that day when we heard that a Continental Trailways bus traveling through north Arkansas had been taken over by gunmen. There were 15 passengers on board. Two of them were the Haiglers.

Sometime around noon Keith Haigler put a gun to the head of Bill Carney, the bus driver, and ordered him to take them to Jasper. When they arrived they told Carney to park on the Highway 7 two-laned bridge, which spanned the Buffalo River. Carney did as he was told. Once there, the hijackers demanded an interview with a TV station out of Springfield, Missouri, which broadcast into the area. They got their wish. 

When KM and I got to Jasper the Haiglers had begun letting their hostages go, after one of them had fainted from the heat. When they were all safe we watched the bus from the sidewalk in front of a barbershop, with other townies and tourists. State Police were everywhere and soon one of them came over and told us to move behind the building because there were police snipers on the other side of the bridge with high-powered rifles. We did and just minutes later heard the gunfire.

Reports that evening said that when the couple came off the bus they were still armed. The police told them to get rid of their weapons and lay face down. Instead they got on their knees, started moving towards the officers, then they began shooting.

The snipers shot back, putting them both down. As the young couple lay wounded on the road, Mrs. Haigler shot her husband with a .38-caliber pistol. Then she shot herself. Keith Haigler died on the bridge, his wife, about two hours later, in a nearby hospital.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.