Alabama Academy of Honor

Jack Westervelt Warner

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1976 and 2002 and 2017.

Jack Warner was born in Decatur, Illinois, on July 28, 1917. He moved to Tuscaloosa as a child when his grandfather Herbert E. Westervelt consolidated Gulf States Paper company as Alabama's first modern pulp and paper mill in 1929.

Warner graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, in 1936. He attended Washington & Lee University from 1936 to 1940 and received a degree in business administration. While at Washington & Lee, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

After college, Warner served in the U.S. Army from 1941-1945. He was a commissioned officer with the Mars Task Force in the Burma Theater of Operations.

Warner's father, Herbert David Warner (deceased), was treasurer, then chairman of the board and finally chairman, emeritus, of Gulf States Paper Corporation. His mother, Mildred Westervelt Warner (deceased), served as president of Gulf States and was the daughter of the company's founder, Herbert Westervelt.

Jack Warner was married to the former Elizabeth Butler of Jacksonville, Florida, on August 26, 1939. They had two sons: J.W. (Jon) Warner Jr. and David Turner Warner, and three grandchildren.

Career Summary

Joining Gulf States following World War II, Warner headed production and sales activities of the company before becoming executive vice president in 1950. (He had worked an "apprenticeship " in various areas of the Tuscaloosa operation while still a youth, however.) In 1957, he was elected president, succeeding his mother. Warner became president and chairman of the board in 1959. From 1984 to 1994 he served as Chairman and C.E.O. of Gulf States. Warner retired from day-to-day management of the company on January 1, 1995. He remained a member of the board of directors and served as a consultant to the company.

Business Activities

Past director, American Paper Institute
Past chairman and three-term president, Alabama Chamber of Commerce
Past president (two terms), Greater Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce
Past chairman, Board of Visitors, The University of Alabama College of Commerce and Business Administration
Director, emeritus, The First Alabama Bank of Tuscaloosa Past director, First National Bank of Tuskaloosa
Past director, Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company (Southern System) Past trustee, American Forest Institute Past chairman and four-term president, Warrior-Tombigbee Development Association (Alabama water development group)
Past director, Associated Industries of Alabama Past vice president, Southern States Industrial Council Past director, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Birmingham branch

Civic Activities

Member, The University of Alabama National Advisory Board
Member, Mount Vernon Advisory Committee
Former Member, National Board of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Trustee emeritus, The Culver Educational Foundation, Culver Military Academy
Member, Board of Governors, The Decorative Arts Trust
Director, University Club of Tuscaloosa
Commodore, NorthRiver Yacht Club
Elder, First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa
Trustee emeritus, Washington and Lee University
Past trustee, Southwestern University at Memphis
Past chairman, Alabama Council on Economic Education
Past president, YMCA of Metropolitan Tuscaloosa
Past president, Druid City Hospital Foundation

Honors and Awards

Distinguished Achievement Award, President's Cabinet, The University of Alabama, 1999
Frances G. Summersell Award, The University of Alabama, 1999
Alexis de Tocqueville Award, United Way of West Alabama, 1998
Washington and Lee University Athletic Hall of Fame, 1998
Lifetime Achievement Award, Alabama State Council on the Arts, 1997
Lifetime Achievement Award, Greater Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce, 1997
Honorary Chairman, 250th Anniversary of Washington and Lee University
Silver Beaver Award for outstanding service, Black Warrior Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 1995
Tuscaloosa River Road Park System named in Warner's honor by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority and City of Tuscaloosa, 1991
Lifetime Preservation Achievement Award, Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, 1990 Lee Bidgood Award, University of Alabama College of Commerce and Business Administration, 1990 Distinguished Alabama Sportsman Award, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, 1989 H. H. Pritchett Preservation Award, Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa County, 1987 Business and the Arts Award, Society of Fine Arts of the University of Alabama, 1985 Bronze Oak Wreath Award for community service, Greater Tuscaloosa Ad Club, 1985 Inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame, 1983 Man and Boy Award, Boys Clubs of Tuscaloosa County, 1983 Elected to the Alabama Academy of Honor, 1976 Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, The University of Alabama, 1976 Whooping Crane Award, National Wildlife Federation, 1976. This organization's highest conservation honor was presented to Gulf States for its outstanding contributions to the field of water pollution control.
Member of the Year, Greater Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce, 1975 Man of the Year, Culver Military Academy, 1972 Governor's Award, Alabama Forest Conservationist of the Year, 1970 Man of the Year, Alabama Council for the National Management Association, and recipient of Golden Knight of Management Trophy. Omicron Delta Kappa, leadership society Honorary member, Beta Gamma Sigma business honorary.


Mr. Warner passed away on February 18, 2017.