Opelika remembers prominent figure Yetta Samford

Opelika remembers Yetta Samford
Yetta Samford.
Yetta Samford.

Opelika said goodbye to a dear friend this weekend. Yetta Samford will always be remembered for his contributions to the state of Alabama.

"He was one of the most remarkable, finest people I've ever known in my life. He was an inspiration," explains Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.

A native to Opelika, Samford is a product of the city school system, where he would later become president of the board.

He was a graduate of Auburn University and earned a law degree from the University of Alabama.

Samford was a state senator for four years and practiced law at his firm, Samford and Denson, right down the street from City Hall.

"He was president of the school board back in the days when they were trying to get the schools integrated and he had a calming influence on our community with that. He made a significant difference in the life of our community and we're better because he was here," says Fuller.

During World War II Samford piloted B-17 bombers with the U.S. Army Air Corps.

Last October, Samford got to step back into a B-17 and fly from Montgomery to Auburn during the Wings of Freedom Tour, in a seat he had sat nearly 70 years before.

Fuller accompanied Samford on a visit to the World War II memorial and Arlington National Cemetery in Washing D.C. a few years ago and was honored to be his guardian.

"You know all of us are just passing through and all of us hope to make some little mark," says Fuller. "Well, a person like Yetta Samford made a big mark on this community."

Samford was a founding trustee of the University of Mobile, served as a trustee at the University of Alabama for 21 years, and was a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor.

Samford was 90-years-old when he passed away.

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