On the evening of January 26, 2014, the greatest generation lost another brave soldier. Ford D. Albritton, Jr. of Dallas, Texas passed away a few days after his 93rd birthday-- surrounded by his beloved family: his wife of 67 years, Martha Stripling, his sons Ford III, Robert, John and his daughter Sally, as well as his large extended family.
Ford grew up in Houston as one of 3 brothers, attended Lamar High School and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1943. While there, he served in the Corp of Cadets, attaining rank of Commander --Battery G, Field Artillery. Eventually, his service carried him to the Pacific theater in World War II where he flew 108 combat missions as an artillery pilot in the U.S. Army. He would end up receiving a Purple Heart and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, among many other citations.
He was a successful businessman and investor He founded his own company shortly after returning from WWII; Albritton Engineering Corporation (ALENCO) growing it to the largest aluminum window and door manufacturing operation in the U.S., selling it in 1968 to Redmond Industries. He was Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the public company Tipperrary, headquartered in Midland, Texas and Chief Executive Officer of the Ashbrook Corporation, based in Houston. In the late 1970's he became involved in a series of family ventures with his sons and his son-in-law.
His volunteerism defined him. In addition to community efforts as president of chamber of commerce and the United Way, he gave generously of his time to his beloved alma mater. He is the only person in the University's history to have simultaneously served as a member of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents as well as President of both the Association of Former Students, (the alumni organization), and the Texas A&M Research Foundation (the nonprofit corporation which provides developmental and administrative assistance for the University's research programs). His leadership continued with passionate support of The Aggie Club (now known as The 12th Man Foundation), raising scholarship funds for student athletes, and serving on The Executive Committee ( the same year he headed the Association of Former Students). He received Texas A&M's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1977.
As his greatest passion outside of his family, he contributed anonymously to many students in need of tuition or book money. He funded scholarships and hired any Aggie student needing a job, believing that hard work and perseverance should be rewarded and that lack of resources should not hinder their pursuit of excellence. He never wanted recognition for this believing that we all have an obligation of stewardship to do what is beneficial for our communities and Country, not for glory, but because it is right.
Ford Albritton's long history of devotion to Texas A&M is manifested by his and Martha's gift of the Albritton Tower and Carillon. "Texas A&M has made unparalled progress in establishing itself as a center of academic excellence…To recognize this preeminent accomplishment and to satisfy what has been a dream of mine for many years; I wish to contribute to the present and future growth of Texas A&M by constructing a Tower housing a Carillon of the highest order. This Carillon will add an important dimension of dignity and integrity to Texas A&M while serving as a constant reminder that the University is continuing to strive for an ever increasing degree of academic excellence." The two of them also donated the large aluminum work of art depicting space flight in front of the Olin E. Teague Research Center.
Service to Country. Service to Texas A & M. Closeness of family. These were his great loves.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Martha; his sons, Ford III and wife Catherine of Dallas, Texas, Bob and wife Mary Louise of Fort Worth, Texas, John and wife Cathy of Terrell, Texas and his daughter Sally and husband Jim Wilson of Dallas, Texas along with 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren with one more on the way
He was served beautifully in his final days by two devoted teams; his doctor Julye Carew, his longtime housekeeper, Mercedes Yarber, his caregivers, Lupe Soto and Denise Rodriguez and the compassionate team from New Century Hospice. Funeral service will be held at Sparkman-Hillcrest Northwest Chapel, Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. with interment to follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park. Online condolences may be made at www.Sparkman-Hilcrest.com.
Memorial gifts may be sent to the A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Dr. College Station, TX 77840. Restricted for the Albritton Tower Carillon Fund. This fund will always be there to see that Ford D. Albritton Jr. Is always remembered as the bells ring out.