Alabama Academy of Honor


Frank P. Samford, Jr.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1980.



Frank Park Samford, Jr. came from a line of distinguished Alabamians and carries on a proud tradition of contributing much to the educational, civic, and business life of his community, Birmingham, and of his native state, Alabama. Samford was born January 29, 1921, in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of Hattie Mae Noland and Frank Park Samford, Sr., insurance company executive, grandson of William H. Samford, lawyer, U.S. Congressman, State Senator, and Governor of Alabama.

Mr. Samford attended Auburn University, 1937-38, where he joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and achieved the highest grades of all freshmen who were enrolled in the business administration program. In 1938, he attended Yale University and graduated with a B.A. degree in 1942. While a student at Yale, he was a member of the Elizabethan Club, Chairman of the Conservative Party in the Yale Political Union, won the "Ten Eyck" prize for the junior oration, 1941, and was a member of Berzelius, a senior secret society.

With the advent of World War II, Samford entered the U.S. Navy and he served as a Lieutenant Sr. Grade on a destroyer in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific theatres, 1942-45. After the war, he attended law school at the University of Alabama where he graduated first in the class of 1947. He was Chapter President of Phi Delta Phi, legal fraternity, 1946-47.

Mr. Samford's business career began with his employment at Liberty National Life Insurance Company where he worked as a securities analyst, 1947-50, assistant vice president, vice president, and was named president of the company in 1960. He held that position, 1960-73, was chief executive officer, 1967 to the time of his induction into the Academy, and chairman of the board, 1973-80. In addition, he holds positions on the boards of Liberty National Life Insurance Company's subsidiaries: Brown-Service Funeral Homes Company, Liberty National Fire Insurance Company, and Rockford Life Insurance Company.

In 1960, he received his Chartered Life Underwriter professional designation. Mr. Samford was affiliated with the various professional organizations connected with the life insurance industry and has served as an active board member of: Life Insurance Association of America, the Institute of Life Insurance, American Life Convention, Life Insurers Conference, the Life Underwriter Training Council, International Insurance Seminars, Inc., and The American College, which offers the advanced educational programs in financial services areas and the educational program leading to the Chartered Life Underwriter (C.L.U.) professional designation.

He also served on boards of Birmingham Trust National Bank, Golden Enterprises, Inc., South Central Bell Telephone Company, The Southern Company, Saunders Leasing System, Inc., Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company, and the Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Mr. Samford's efforts and active interest in his community's activities were wide-ranging and include the $50 million ciy bond campaign, the Shades Valley "Y," the Alabama Safety Council, and the U.S.O. for which he served as state chairman, 1960-62. In the past, 1960-62. In the past he has also served on the budget committee, served as co-chairman, chairman, and president of Jefferson County Community Chest. In 1952 and 1953, he was chairman of the Jefferson County Heart Fund Drive; in 1956 and 1957, he was chairman of the Alabama Heart Fund Drive. Samford was a charter member of the Kidney Foundation of Alabama and was currently chairman of the $1.5 million fund-raising campaign for the Alabama Kidney Center at the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham.

Mr. Samford served as president of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, 1968-69. In 1970, he was a trustee-at-large of the Independent College Funds of America, and he has served as a trustee on the boards of the University of Montevallo, Auburn University, and Indian Springs School. He was a charter member and director on the Board of the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

Frank Park Samford, Jr. married Virginia Carolyn Suydam on May 27, 1942, and they had four children: Frank Park Samford, III, Laura Samford Armitage, John Singleton Pitts Samford, and Mae Samford Robertson. They resided in Birmingham where Samford was a member and former deacon of the Independent Presbyterian Church, The Rotary Club of Birmingham, The Country Club of Birmingham, and the Mountain Brook Club. Mr. Samford is now deceased.