July 20, 1926 – Dec. 16, 2021
Wiley Watts Stanford, Jr., age 95, passed away peacefully at home on Dec. 16, 2021. The first child of Lillian McCrory and Wiley Watts Stanford, Sr., he was born July 20, 1926 in his family home in Pine Apple. The funeral service was held Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Friendship Baptist Church in Pine Apple, at 11 a.m. with Reverend Caleb Clark, III, officiating and Dunklin Funeral Home directing. Burial followed at Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery
He attended elementary and high school at Moore Academy and received the American Legion award as a graduating senior in 1944. He was appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, N.Y., and served as a US Naval Reserve Midshipman on oil tankers as part of the USMMA curriculum. He sailed around the world via New York to England, Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, the Suez Canal, Iran, India, Australia, Hawaii, to San Francisco, serving in all three theaters of World War II.
He received the Bachelor of Science Degree from Kings Point in 1946 and was granted a Third Mate’s License at the age of 19.
Following his discharge in 1948 from active service as an Ensign in the US Naval Reserve, he enrolled at Auburn University where he joined Kappa Alpha fraternity. Following his graduation from Auburn, he moved to Elba, Alabama, where he joined the Elba Exchange Bank. He then joined Emergency Aid Life Insurance Company where he was head of accounting. In 1954 he joined Southern Benefit Life Insurance Company as Vice President and Secretary. When Southern Benefit merged with Mutual Savings Life Insurance Company in 1957, he sold his interest in the merged entity and moved his family back to Pine Apple.
During his years in Elba, he was deacon of the First Baptist Church, president and District Governor of the Elba Lion’s Club where he had perfect attendance for ten years. He also served on the SE Alabama Boy Scout Council.
The move back to Pine Apple ignited his entrepreneurial spirit and he opened the Stanford Supply Company which sold poultry equipment and feed. His broiler hatchery grew broilers at the rate of 200,000 every ten weeks. In 1960, he expanded the poultry business to include the Stanford Quail Farm where he hatched 1,000 to 1,500 quail per week for shooting preserves as well as processing for the frozen food industry. In 1961 he opened Bear Creek Shooting Preserve which catered to Auburn and Alabama alumnus.
The Stanford Bob White Quail were served on the first Delta Air Lines transcontinental flight in 1962 and were an immediate hit. Delta wanted all the quail that the farm could produce. But, within two years, disaster struck. Over an eighteen month period, Auburn scientists were unable to isolate a bronchial virus that decimated the quail chicks. In addition, broiler prices reached an all-time low in 1966, forcing Wiley to close his quail and poultry business. Refusing to take that economic blow sitting down, Wiley moved his family from Pine Apple to Montgomery where he entered the investment, securities and insurance business. By 1968 he was providing insurance, pension and profit sharing plans to state and national associations as a member of Carlisle & Associates, Inc.
In 1970, he assumed ownership and debt of that corporation and moved his family and business to Lawrenceville, Ga., where he focused on the pension and profit sharing needs of closely held corporations, municipalities, hospitals and professional corporations. In 1973, he introduced a mainframe computer and actuarial software into the business as well as two full time actuaries and an Emory law school attorney who drafted pension trusts. Following five consecutive years of producing more than a million dollars in personal sales, he was named a Life Member of the Million Dollar Round Table in 1974.
Signed by President Reagan, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 opened another business opportunity for Wiley when he began to market the benefits of ERISA to CPA’s and attorneys. Over the next 10 years, Carlisle & Associates grew its account base to more than 600 clients in four states.
In 1982, Watson Wyatt Worldwide began negotiations to purchase Carlisle & Associates. Those negotiations eventually culminated in a combination cash/lifetime annuity deal. (Wyatt never suspected that Wiley would significantly outlive their actuarial projections!)
Finding himself “retired” and with a wife (Doran) who was still actively involved in her own career, Wiley considered a number of business opportunities and in 1984 went from business suit to Lake Lanier casual.
From 1985 through 1999, Wiley was the face of Stardust Cruisers on Lake Lanier. He marketed his earlier Stardust Cruisers under the Phoenix Houseboat signature and was the first to introduce a “widebody” houseboat in those waters in 1986. Over that fifteen year period, he sold over 300 houseboats.
In 1987, as the owner of Phoenix Houseboats he submitted the largest single order in Stardust Cruiser history for $1,057,136. Keep in mind that this is when the average new houseboat ranged in price from $60,000 to $97,000.
Pursuing his love of boating, he joined University Yacht Club in 1989. He served as a governor and bridge member over a seven year period from 1990 to 1997. He was elected to serve as Commodore in 1998. Wiley was named a Paul Harris Fellow for his contributions to the recovery efforts in Elba, following the flood of 1998.
During the time he built his Stardust Cruiser business and served University Yacht club. Wiley and Doran enjoyed six wonderful years as “full-timers” aboard their houseboat The Valium, Too, from 1995 to 2001. In 2003, Wiley was nominated by Stardust Cruisers and was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky for his contributions to the Kentucky economy.
Having enjoyed the houseboat life, Wiley decided to check out the RV lifestyle since Doran had retired in 2001. Following the purchase of a motorhome, they began winter travels to Florida and spring time travels westward to visit Doran’s home state of Texas – catching an in-depth taste of all the states in between.
In 2005, they bought a RV site in a senior community that became their winter home while they continued to spend the rest of the year at their home in Flowery Branch. In 2019, Wiley and Doran moved to The Waters in Pike Road, to be near children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.
Wiley is survived by his wife of 40 years, Doran Willeford Stanford and two daughters, Susan Jemison of Montgomery and Charlotte Jackson (Walker) of Auburn; grandchildren, Rebecca Jemison Rice (Will), Slaton Jemison, Ben Jackson (Frances), Garrett Jemison (Emily) and Bonnie Jackson Capps (Matthew); great-grandchildren, Jemison and H.T. Rice, S.J. and John Mays Jemison, Ford and Nellie Jackson and Mary Nell and Charlotte Capps.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Eagle Ranch, a 501(c)(3) charity. Located in Flowery Branch, Ga., Eagle Ranch provides a Christ-centered home, education and counseling for nearly seventy boys and girls. Eagle Ranch, P.O. Box 7200, Chestnut Mountain, GA 30502.