Flooring Man Says Thanks By Leaving Samford $1.9 Million
Posted by William Nunnelley on 2004-05-06
Enos Cuthrell was a self-made man who made a success of his Birmingham flooring business during the 1940s and '50s.
"As a young man he would get a job and take his sanding machine and go to work," recalled his niece, Mrs. Bobbie Smith of Chattanooga, Tenn. "He would even sleep at the job site if he had to." Beginning in the 1930s, Cuthrell (pronounced KOOTH-rull) did flooring work around the Southeast. He worked in Oak Ridge, Tenn., during World War II, helping build facilities for the Atomic Energy Commission and those working there.
By the 1950s his business was well-established. He lived in a house on Lakeshore Drive, and was interested to learn of then-Howard College's plan to build a new campus in the vicinity. He bid to do the flooring work for campus buildings, and got the job.
"He was thrilled by the confidence the school showed in awarding him the contract," said Mrs. Smith. "He told me he was so grateful to Howard for that opportunity." Cuthrell and his wife, Ginny, were Baptist, and they thought highly of the school. He was determined to show his appreciation, and decided to leave Samford something in his estate.
"He was very adamant about wanting to help the school," said Mrs. Smith. "He told me that quite often." Along the way, Cuthrell began investing successfully in real estate, his niece recalled, and his resources grew even more.
Cuthrell died in 1976. Through his will, he had arranged for his estate to go to his widow for her lifetime, then to Samford. "This 'give it twice' plan was the perfect way to provide for his wife, while also fulfilling his desire to help Samford," said Stan Davis, Samford gift and estate planning director.
Ginny Cuthrell died April 20, 2003. By that time, the Cuthrell estate had grown to almost $2 million. The money came to Samford last fall, a total of $1,991,151.40.
"Uncle Enos helped so many people along the way," recalled Mrs. Smith. Now, his generosity to Samford will help even more.
Editor's Note: Bobbie Smith has a tie to Samford also. Her late husband, Tom Polk Smith, was a graduate of McWhorter School of Pharmacy.
ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.