James Elbert Peters, of Huntsville, passed away on Thursday at the age of 90. Peters had been involved in Alabama Republican politics for many decades, and anyone running for local or statewide office in Alabama knew and respected him.

Peters was an electrical engineer by trade. He graduated from Auburn University and took his post-graduate courses at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He worked 35 years in that field most of it was spent with Boeing where he retired in 1998. He also was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force serving four years during the Korean War era.

A lifelong Republican, in 1966 he became a member of the Madison County Republican Executive Committee. In 1975, Peters became a member of the Republican Steering Committee both of which he served up until his death with few interruptions. He was a Republican Delegate to the National Convention in 1968, 1988, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020, the most times served, according to the secretary of state.

Peters was the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party from 1992-1995.

Most recently, Peters has been hard at work and known for the Republican Men's Breakfast in Huntsville which he started in 1985 and is now the largest such club in the country where hundreds of members join together each month to listen to candidates and elected officials speak.

Elbert Peters Mens Breakfast Alabama News
David Wisdom

Many of Alabama's elected officials sent statements to 1819 News regarding Peters’ passing.

U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Monrovia) said, “I’ve known Elbert Peters for decades, and I admire the role he played in growing the Republican Party. When I first met Elbert at a Monrovia Men’s Club Barbecue, he shared the idea of starting the Republican Men’s Club Breakfast— something that has now been successful for many years. Elbert was a true Conservative Republican through and through. He was instrumental in making the Alabama Republican Party what it is today.”

In a tweet, U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) described Peters as "a deeply-respected leader in the Alabama Republican Party."

U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery) said, "Elbert Peters was a pioneering giant of the Alabama Republican Party and a tremendous American whose legacy of service and statesmanship will live on for generations to come. His loved ones are in our prayers.”

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) made a statement in a tweet, calling Peters "a genuine leader and a good man."

Lieutenant Gov. Will Ainsworth tweeted, "With today’s passing of J. Elbert Peters at age 90, the Alabama Republican Party lost one of its founders and most loyal members. A devoted conservative and even more devoted family man, Elbert set an example that others would do well to follow. I’m thankful to have known him."

Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl took to Twitter to remember his "predecessor, mentor, and friend."

“Elbert Peters was a monument in Alabama Republican politics and his leadership has helped shape our local and state elected officials for the better," State Sen. Tom Butler (R-Madison) said. "His legacy will continue to live on and the Republican movement he started in Alabama will as well. Mine and Karen’s prayers are with his family as they go through this difficult time.”

State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) said on Twitter, "Elbert was a stalwart in the GOP for decades. And, he was a leader of the effort to replace the Democratic machine that controlled the Tenn Valley region at all levels for over 100 years. His Madison County Republican Men’s Club is legendary. He will be greatly missed."

State Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Ardmore) said, “If there were ever to be a Mount Everest of Alabama Republicans, then Mr. Elbert Peters deserved to be front and center. He was an icon whose leadership, guidance, and values helped shape our state and local leaders. His legacy is easily cemented in the history of Alabama Politics."

"While serving as Huntsville’s Police Chief, Elbert would always call and give advice or opinions about community and political issues…he also stayed close during my legislative years, I always enjoyed our conversations and held him in the highest regard," said State Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville).

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.