Service, Wisdom, Fairness
Remembering Kirkwood Balton
Birmingham entrepreneur and executive Kirkwood R. Balton made an indelible mark on the city. Known for first-rate service, wisdom, and fair, respectful treatment of people, the longtime UAB Leadership Cabinet member and veteran Birmingham businessman passed away in February of this year.
Balton, former chairman and chief executive of Booker T. Washington Insurance Company, was born in Birmingham in 1935. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Miles College in 1957 and a master’s in business administration from Samford University in 1970. Balton was active in numerous business, civic, and educational organizations, such as the A. G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. After retiring from Booker T. Washington, he formed his own businesses, J&B Medical Supply and J&B Management and Electric Supply.
“Kirkwood was an involved citizen,” said Odessa Woolfolk, board chair emerita of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and a UAB Leadership Cabinet member. “He was involved in a quiet way in all sorts of activities in the community that dealt with youth.” Balton remained active on numerous boards of local organizations until the end of his life, including UAB’s Leadership Cabinet.
In addition to serving on the Leadership Cabinet, Balton also served as a member on the boards of UAB Highlands and the Callahan Eye Foundation. He was a regular contributor to the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Kirkwood was a true leader in Birmingham,” says Michael R. Waldrum, M.D., CEO of UAB Hospital. “He understood that in order to help our community you had to participate—and that he did for UAB and UAB Health System. He participated with dedication, wisdom, and a genuine warmth. UAB is better off having had his involvement, and we are saddened by losing such a great and active leader.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer/Fall 2009