Emory Folmar, who served as mayor of Montgomery for 22 years and who became the first Republican to run a competitive race to become governor of the state since the end of Reconstruction, has died at the age of 81. Folmar's son-in-law, Mark Dauber, said Folmar died around 7 p.m. Friday at home.
Emory McCord Folmar was born in Pike County, the son of Marshall Bibb and Miriam Pearson Folmar. He attended grammar and high schools in Troy and Montgomery. After high school, he enrolled at the University of Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business.
Colorful and controversial, Folmar was Montgomery’s mayor from 1977 to 1999, the longest consecutive period in that office of any mayor in the city’s history.
Perhaps his biggest impact on the state was as a Republican. Although he lost his gubernatorial campaign to George Wallace, who won a fourth term in 1982, Folmar received more than 40 percent of the vote. Before that race, it had been approximately a century since a Republican had run a competitive race for the position.
Besides being chairman of the Alabama Republican Party from 1985-1989, Folmar was state chairman for the presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992.
Being on schedule was a Folmar trademark.
A fervent supporter of the military, he once complained to them when fighter planes were a little more than a minute late doing a flyover before an outdoor performance of the Montgomery Symphony.
He had been a decorated military man himself, receiving the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart as an Army company commander serving in Korea from 1951 to 1954.
Former Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. called Folmar’s death “the passing of a senior statesman.”
Byard worked with Folmar when Folmar was serving as mayor of Montgomery.
“We had a very good relationship, serving on several committees and boards together. Mayor Folmar was always a cheerleader for the Capital City. I think it is fitting that he passed away on Veterans Day. As a Korean War veteran, he was very proud of his service to his country. And as mayor of Montgomery, he realized the importance the military community played in the entire region through Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Air Force Base.”
Emory McCord Folmar, 81, resident of Montgomery, Alabama died November 11, 2011.
- His wife, Anita Pierce Folmar
- Miriam Pearson Folmar
- Anne Folmar Montmeat
- Wilson Bibb Folmar III (Deborah O'Connell Folmar)
- Margaret Folmar Dauber (Mark Allan Dauber)
- Emily Dauber Flowers (William Flowers III)
- Collins Glasgow Dauber
- Sean Austin Folmar
He is preceded in death by:
- His son David Pearson Folmar
- James Murphree Folmar
- Oliver Wiley Folmar
- Wilson Bibb Folmar II
- Marshall Bibb Folmar
- Miriam Woods Pearson Folmar.
Folmar was born June 3rd, 1930, in Troy, Alabama , where he lived until his family moved to Montgomery when he was fourteen. After graduating Sidney Lanier High School in 1948, he attended The University of Alabama, where he received his BS in Business in three years, was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and served as cadet colonel of the Army ROTC. Through the ROTC he received a Regular Army commission and went to Ft. Benning, Georgia for parachute training and instructors' schools where he was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division attached to the 2nd Infantry Division.
He married Anita Pierce in February 1952 and was deployed to Korea that summer. Wounded in action, he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. At the rank of lieutenant, he received the French Croix de Guerre as a result of his actions with the 23rd Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division and French troops. After Korea, he was assigned to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, as an Airborne Jump Master until 1954.
He then moved to Montgomery to join his brother James Folmar and Henry Flynn in construction and sales of government-issue loan funded housing in the Montgomery neighborhood Cloverland. The Folmar brothers' business grew to include large commercial shopping center construction throughout the Southeast.
He entered politics at the urging of his son David, running for city council District 8 in 1975. He was elected President of the City Council and then served as Mayor of Montgomery from 1977 till 1999. He ran for governor in 1982; served as campaign chairman for Ronald Reagan's finance committee in 1980; state chairman for Reagan in 1984; and chairman for Bush-Quayle in 1988 and 1992.
After retiring from politics, he worked as a business consultant and was appointed Commissioner to the Alabama Beverage Control Board by Governor Bob Riley in 2003.
After a private graveside service, a memorial service will be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Monday, November 14th at 3:30 o'clock with Rev. Claude McRoberts officiating.
Graveside pallbearers include Greg Shaner, Darick Wilson, Tracy von Hollen, Steve Thompson, Celia and Randy Dixon, Jim Buckelew, Judge Reese McKinney, and Mike Hunter. Rev. Claude McRoberts and Bill Reagan will speak graveside.
Honorary Pallbearers include his Trinity Presbyterian Sunday School class, past kings of the Krewe of the Phantom Host, Will Hill Tankersley, and Bobby Armstrong. Gov. Robert Riley will speak at the memorial service. The elders of Trinity Presbyterian Church will serve as ushers.
The family wishes to thank his caregivers: Bernice Smith, ChooChoo Barker, Meme Barker, Gail Chappell, Nail Fort, Rent Jenkins, Kawanda McDade, Vanessa Anderson, Lisa Barker, Amelia Walker, Lulu Speer, and Carolyn Carter.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Cancer Wellness Foundation at 4145 Carmichael Road, 36106. Leak-Memory Chapel Directing www.leak-mc.com