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Shortly after Ford Flurry Jr. graduated from high school in 1954, he found himself sitting inside a bank in his hometown of Dayton, Texas. One of six children born to hardworking dairy farmers in the rural community northeast of Houston, Flurry had set his mind on becoming the first in his family to graduate from college.
Texas A&M was his ideal destination, but Flurry needed some financial help from the local bank to make his goal a reality.
As he explained his plight to a loan officer, a successful local businessman named Jim Sterling walked through the building and overheard Flurry making his case for a loan.
A 1938 graduate of Texas A&M, Sterling understood the significance of Flurry's desire to attend college. Moments later, in a supreme gesture of Aggie goodwill, Sterling approached the desk and co-signed for Flurry's loan.
That thoughtful action from a proud former student to a hopeful future student cemented Flurry's love for all things A&M.
"It was something he always remembered," recalled Barbara Flurry, Ford's wife.
Sterling's support may have been part of the inspiration for Flurry's ultimate donation to Texas A&M some 60 years later when Flurry gifted a previously purchased life insurance policy to the 12th Man Foundation.
Ford Flurry died on July 25, 2015, but his legacy at Texas A&M will endure, as the proceeds from his planned gift have funded a scholarship for a football student-athlete.
In many ways, his generosity was fitting. Longtime supporters of Aggie football, the Flurry family enjoyed many fall Saturdays at Kyle Field. One of Flurry's daughters eventually followed her father's footsteps to College Station and graduated in 1981. Three grandchildren have also earned A&M degrees.
In addition to a love for all things maroon, Flurry also left a legacy of hard work. Barbara said her husband rarely attended A&M year-round in the 1950s because he frequently had to return to Dayton in order to work and earn money to pay for the upcoming semester.
"He worked hard during the summers for a time so he could return in the fall," said Barbara. "Then later after we were going out, he worked during the regular semesters in order to go back to College Station for the summer."
Flurry graduated with a degree in agricultural economics in 1959 and returned to Dayton to become a full-time farmer and rancher. In addition to an egg business, the Flurrys also raised livestock and farmed rice, soybeans, corn and sorghum over the years.
While Flurry remained a hard worker his entire life, giving back was also a priority. He served on the board of directors for the Liberty County Farm Bureau, Dayton ISD, American Rice Growers Association, Soil and Water Conservation and the Dayton State Bank, among others. The Flurrys also supported local 4-H and livestock programs, which ultimately helped provide scholarships for other future college students.
"My father loved Texas A&M and was grateful he attended and graduated from A&M," said Sharon Wilson, one of Ford's three daughters. "He had a desire to give back to the university in order to show his appreciation for all it had given him. That was important to him. I am proud that he did this and honored his legacy will live on through his generosity."
It's a real pleasure for us to do this, because I think back about all the support Aggies have given me. No one accomplishes everything in life by themselves, and A&M and the Aggie network have definitely been there for me throughout my life."