For 29 years, pop Marler was a vital part of Choctawhatchee High School, and no discussion of the traditions of the history of the school would be complete without mentioning Pop.
In the fall of 1953, Pop began wearing a headdress to football games. The following year, booster club parents purchased Pop a complete Indian outfit which he wore to pep rallies and to games. Often, his wife would join him.
As Pop grew older and had difficulty standing throughout the games, students in the wood shop made him a throne-like chair to sit in on the sidelines. Even as he grew older, Pop attended pep rallies and made a speech each time. He always ended with, “And God bless each and every one of you.”
Mr. Bill Martin, a 1975 grad who is currently an art teacher and coach at Choctaw, has fond memories of Pop when Martin was a member of the football team.
“He was a terrific guy. He made everyone feel up and happy when he was around. One special thing he did was to give all the senior cheerleaders and players bibles at the end of the season,” Martin said.
Unfortunately, current students have not had the pleasure of knowing Pop. He died in 1981, but his memory and the important role he played at Choctaw will continue through the years.
This picture still hangs in the gymnasium, depicting Pop reaching to the heavens…or perhaps just raising his arms to signal another Indian three-pointer or touchdown.