Chapter Eternal: James F. Stovall, Jr., Georgia Tech ’38

23 November

James Frank Stovall, Jr., 90, died Friday, November 12 at his Atlanta home with his wife, Betty Taylor Stovall of 61 years at his bedside. He was the son of Claire Thomas and James Frank Stovall, Sr. of Madison. He is also survived by his children, James F. Stovall III and wife, Sue of Roswell, Virginia S. Kendall and husband, Wayne of Roswell, Betty Stovall of Alpharetta, and John Stovall of Americus; his five grandchildren, James F. Stovall IV and wife, Chrissy, Claire Stovall, Sarah Stovall Martinez and husband, Pablo, Robert Kendall and Katherine Kendall; and a great-grandchild, James Frank Stovall V.

Frank Stovall retired from United Cotton Goods Company of Griffin, in 1985. Outside his family and business, his proudest accomplishment was his long-term relationship with Georgia Tech. In 1999 he was awarded the Joseph Mayo Pettit Alumni Distinguished Service Award and was speaker at that year’s graduation at which his grandson received his Georgia Tech diploma. In 1998, he was inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame. He twice served on the Georgia Tech Alumni Association board of trustees and was president for the 1972-73 year. An emeritus member of the Georgia Tech Foundation, he served his first term in 1977. He was an emeritus member of the former Tech-Georgia Development Fund, serving both as director and treasurer. He was co-chairman of the Class of 1941 50th Reunion Committee, co-chairman of the Endowment Council for 1984-1985 and a member of the Legislative Network. He also served on the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center board until 1985.

A native of Madison, he graduated high school from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville. He received a degree from Georgia Tech in 1941 in Textile Engineering. At Tech he was president of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, senior class secretary, vice president of the student council and a member of ANAK. After graduation he moved to New York City to become a textile buyer for U.S. Rubber Company but World War II called him to service into the Army Air Force. After the war he returned to Madison and pursued several business ventures. There he met his wife, Betty Taylor, a Greensboro native, who had come to Madison to teach school. They married in 1949 and moved to Atlanta in 1951. He started his textile sales career at Joshua L. Bailey & Co. In 1959 he became co-owner of United Cotton Goods Co. and had plants in Griffin and Seguin, Texas. In 1980, they sold the company to a German concern and he continued working there for five years. After retirement, he and Betty moved to Atlanta and Naples, Fla., leaving many good friends in Griffin and the United Cotton Goods family.

Frank and his wife, Betty were also long-time supporters of the Republican Party. He was alternate delegate at the 1968 national convention, and was active in the campaigns of many early candidates like Bo Callaway for Governor and Newt Gingrich for Congress. He testified before a Congressional Committee in Atlanta that the free enterprise system worked better with limited government control.

He will long be remembered for his trademark bow tie and the business advice he gave everyone whom he encountered, “Keep selling.” His family is also comforted that he daily professed that he had a wonderful life. He was a life-long member of the United Methodist Church, a current member of the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church of Atlanta and also attended the First United Methodist Church of Naples.

A private burial service will be held at the Madison City Cemetery. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 20 at 11 a.m. to celebrate Frank’s “wonderful life” at the First United Methodist Church in Madison. The Stovall family is appreciative of the care received by Hospice Compassionate Care. In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to your favorite charity.

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