Bill Ireland

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William Reynolds Ireland (born December 3, 1923 in Gadsden; died March 5, 2009) was an executive at Vulcan Materials and a philanthropist who led efforts to preserve recreational land in Alabama through Forever Wild.

Ireland was the son of Charles Byron and Katherine Reynold Ireland. After attending public schools in Birmingham he was placed in the Baylor School in Chattanooga to complete high school. He then attended Marion Military Institute, Auburn University, Birmingham-Southern College, and the University of Alabama.

Ireland served three years in the U. S. Navy beginning in 1943, then began a 40-year career at Birmingham Slag Company, which he helped transform into Vulcan Materials, the nation's largest producer of construction aggregates. He served on the board of directors for 29 years.

Ireland was a major supporter of the Nature Conservancy, the Alabama Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups. He was the state chairman for the Southern Environmental Law Center's "Campaign for Environmental Future" and served on the advisory council of the Cahaba River Society and the Alabama Wildlife Rescue Service. He also supported the American Cancer Society, United Way of Central Alabama, and the Boy Scouts of America. He was a trustee at Marion Military Institute and served on Auburn University's advisory council and UAB's presidential advisory committee. He was president of the Lurleen Wallace Memorial Foundation and several other UAB foundations.

Ireland was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 1999 and to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame as "Distinguished Alabama Sportsman" in 2000. He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in August 2006 and the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 2012.

Ireland died in 2009 and was survived by his wife, Fay, four sons and 13 grandchildren.


  • Wolfson, Hannah (March 7, 2009) "Birmingham, Alabama-area philanthropist William Reynolds Ireland dies at 85." The Birmingham News
  • Bolton, Mike (March 28, 2010) "Bolton: Bill Ireland Sr. should be honored for his outdoors legacy." The Birmingham News

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