The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1973.
Paul Grist, a native of Marietta, Georgia, devoted a lifetime of service to his fellow men. As a professional Y.M.C.A. worker, he took advantage of the opportunity of making an imprint upon thousands of young men in the country. Not content with developing a successful Y.M.C.A. program in Selma, he built and directed two Y.M.C.A. camps. He served as physical director of the Selma Y.M.C.A. from 1919 to 1934 and as general secretary since 1934. He was president of the Alabama Physical Directors Society, Southern Physical Directors Society, and the Gulf States Association of Y.M.C.A. Secretaries. For twenty-five years he served as secretary of the Dallas County Ministerial Association.
During World War I he was Y.M.C.A. athletic director at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, , and was cited by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for outstanding service to the Armed Forces during World War II. For over twenty years he served on the Board of Directors of the U.S.O. He served eight years as chairman of the Dallas County Red Cross and two years as regional chairman, American Red Cross Fund Raising. In 1945 he was elected president of the Selma Rotary Club and was district governor and a member of Rotary International committees.
Mr. Grist was honored by the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce "As One Who, More Than Any Other, For Half A Century Has Marked Our General Citizenry With The Teachings of Christianity." In 1948 he was selected for honorary membership in Omicron Delta Kappa; in 1961 he received the Alabama Lay Award for Outstanding Citizen in Recreation; in 1964 the University of Alabama conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities.
Most recently Mr. Grist served on the State 4-H Foundation Board, Alabama District Y.M.C.A. Board, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Board, Alabama Youth Legislature Committee, and Coosa-Alabama River Development Committee. He is now deceased.