Alabama Academy of Honor


William James Rushton, III

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1979.



William James Rushton III, a Birmingham Life Insurance official, was born April 23, 1929 in Birmingham, son of Colonel William James Rushton, Jr. and Elizabeth Perry Rushton. He attended Princeton University and graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in mathematics.

After graduation Mr. Rushton was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, United States Army Artillery Resenes, and sened in the Korean War as an artillery observer. He was promoted to the rank of captain and awarded the Bronze Star.

His experience in the actuarial departments - life expectancy statistics - for the Predential Insurance Company, Newark New Jersey and the Protective Life Insurance Company, Birmingham, has qualified Mr. Rushton as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. In 1958 he began a field salesman for Protective Life. He is thought to be the only person in the United States who is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and who has qualified for the insurance industry's "Million Dollar Round Table."

Mr. Rushton was elected Vice President of Protective Life Insurance Company in January 1962 and Agency Vice President in September 1963. In April 1967 he was elected to the Presidency of Protective Life. Since 1969 he has served as the chief executive officer of the company from 1969 to 1993.

In the insurance field Mr. Rushton has affiliations with the American Council of Life Insurance as a Director and Vice President since 1975, the American Life Convention as State Vice President, 1975, and the American Life Insurance Association, its State Vice President in 1975. He has also been on the Board of Directors for the Protective Life Insurance Company since 1956 and the Birmingham Fire Insurance Company from 1956 through 1962.

Mr. Rushton has been Director for the Alabama Power Company since 1970 the Avondale Mills, the Southern Company of Atlanta, Georgia since 1971, the AmSouth Bank of Birmingham, 1973-1995, the Economy Company of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1974-1990, Moore and Handley Hardware,1956-1962, the Southern Research Institute of Birmingham since 1973, and for the Alabama Bank Corporation. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Birmingham-Southern College, and a member of the Board of Visitor, College of Commerce and Business Administration, University of Alabama since 1972.

Active in civic affairs, he served as Chairman of the United Appeal of the Birmingham Community Chest, 1977; a Director of the Birmingham Chamber of the Highland Day School until 1975, of the Children's Hospital of Birmingham since 1964, of the Industrial Health Council, 1966, of the Birmingham Council of Social Agencies since 1975, of the United Way since 1974, a trustee for the Birmingham Baptist Hospital Foundation since 1967, and a member of the Advisory Committee, Meyer Foundation. He is chairman of the Alabama Committee of the Newcomen Society and a Trustee of the Newcomen National Organization .

He is married to Bernice Price and they have three sons: William James IV, Deakins Ford and Tunstall Perry.