In Memoriam: William T. “Bill” Galloway, Jr. (1932-2018)
Former Lanier Ford shareholder Bill Galloway died on January 20, 2018, at age 85.
Born (August 30, 1932) and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Mr. Galloway joined the Ford, Caldwell, Ford & Payne law firm in 1959 after his graduation from the University of Vanderbilt Law School. When the Lanier and Ford firms merged in 1988, he became a shareholder in Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. He retired from practice on June 27, 1997. That works out to be about 38 years of active law practice.
An only child, he grew up in the family home located at 301 Lincoln Street (at the corner with Eustis Avenue). His father was associated with the Galloway Coal Company. After graduating from Columbia Military Academy, he received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1954. He met his wife Mary Ellen while he was attending Vanderbilt. (She died in 2013.) While at Vanderbilt, he was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and spent about 2 years on active duty in Japan and Korea as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Corps. He then returned to Vanderbilt, receiving his J.D. in 1959.
Mr. Galloway served as treasurer of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and was a long-time active member of the Huntsville Rotary Club. He was also past president of the Huntsville United Way.
Mr. Galloway’s practice was primarily in real estate, with his primary client being First Federal Savings and Loan Association, which eventually became First American Federal Savings and Loan Association. (First American Federal merged with Colonial Bank in 1993.) The offices of First Federal were located in the building that now houses the Cotton Row Restaurant and were right next door to the Ford firm’s offices on the south side of the square.
Four appellate cases before the Alabama Supreme Court are credited to Mr. Galloway.
In 1974, he represented a dissenting shareholder (plaintiff) in a corporate reorganization in a dispute over the value of the plaintiff’s shares in the corporation. The Madison County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, but the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case. Huntsville Industrial Associates, Inc. v. Cummings, 292 Ala. 391, 295 So.2d 251 (1974).
In 1981, he represented the debtor when a mortgage holder (creditor) attempted to accelerate payments and foreclose. The Madison County Circuit Court issued a permanent injunction against the creditor. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the permanent injunction. Paint Rock Properties v. Shewmake, 393 So.2d 982 (Ala. 1981).
In appeals decided in 1985 and 1987, he represented the beneficiaries of a trust, who sued the trustee for breach of fiduciary duties. In the first case, the Madison County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the beneficiaries, but the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and remanded because the beneficiaries were not entitled to a jury trial on the issue. First Alabama Bank of Huntsville v. Spragins, 475 So.2d 512 (Ala. 1985). In the second case, the Madison County Circuit Court once again ruled in favor of the beneficiaries, and the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. First Alabama Bank of Huntsville v. Spragins, 515 So.2d 962 (Ala. 1987).
Mr. Galloway was famous for his dry wit, colorful expressions, and stories. He once shared about how an old farmer had asked him for advice about a situation. Mr. Galloway advised him and then requested that he pay a $5 consultation fee. Mr. Galloway said the old farmer paused for a bit and then replied, “If I decide to follow your advice, I’ll pay you.”
He loved to repeat a story about his father, who lived to a ripe old age. When he was into his 90’s, his father received a cold call from a young stock broker who tried to interest him in some long-term investments. He always chuckled in retelling his father’s response: “Young man, at my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” And if you asked Mr. Galloway about how his father was doing, he would reply, “Well, he’s still buying green bananas.”
Because he was a real estate attorney, he referred to himself as a “dirt mover.” He called a mortgage a “no-pay-no-stay.”
One of his favorite expressions was “He who toots not his own horn shall not have his horn tooted.”
Mr. Galloway was the self-appointed chair of what he called the firm’s Overhead Committee, and was known to go behind departing employees, turning off lights. But he often played the role of Santa Claus for the children who attended firm Christmas parties.
Mr. Galloway was full of trivia. He could tell you every President’s vice president and members of each President’s cabinet. These facts originated from “Bill’s Almanac.”
He and his wife were long-time members of the Central Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, where Mr. Galloway served as a deacon and elder. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 30, at 11 a.m. at Central Presbyterian, 406 Randolph Street in Huntsville. Interment will follow in Maple Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations to the Disabled American Veterans.
Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at www.mclaughlinmortuary.com.