Alabama Academy of Honor


Kirkman O'Neal

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1982.



Kirkman O'Neal was born June 17, 1890 at Florence, Alabama. In 1913 he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor of science degree, served in the U. S. Army as a lieutenant from 1917 to 1919 and was on active duty in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean areas. He founded O'Neal Steel Incorporated, a metal service center headquartered at Birmingham, Alabama, which has twelve branches located in seven states: Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Monroe and Lafayette, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama, and Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida.

O'Neal has been active in professional organizations such as: the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Alabama, and the National Association of Manufacturers. He was director and vice president of American Institute of Steel Construction and past President of Southern Structural Steel Board of Trade.

He served as: Lifetime Director and member of the Finance Committee of the American Red Cross, Director of Junior Achievement, and Director of the Mountain Brook Library. He was an honorary member of the President's Council of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He and his family established the Kirkman and Elizabeth O'Neal Foundation in 1958 which gives money for health, education, and civic purposes. Among the larger donations were items for medical equipment for St. Vincent's Hospital and the building of the Emmet O'Neal Library in Mountain Brook in 1965.

Kirkman O'Neal married Elizabeth Paramore on October 9, 1917 and they had two children: Emmett and Elizabeth. Mr. O'Neal is now deceased.