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Bell tower namesake leaves behind story of service

Former student Ford Albritton Jr. passed away Sunday

Published: Monday, January 27, 2014

Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 23:01

Tower

Jenna Rabel

The Albritton Bell Tower was named after Ford Albritton Jr., Class of 1943.

Ford

Courtesy

Ford Albritton Jr.

Ford Albritton Jr, Class of 1943 and former member of Texas A&M University’s Board of Regents, died Sunday. He leaves a legacy of University service that can be seen and heard from the iconic bell tower that bears his name on Old Main Drive.

Albritton was a first lieutenant and artillery pilot during WWII, during which he received a Purple Heart. He served as President of the Association of Former Students and of the Texas A&M Research Foundation. He later went on to be one of the five founders of the President’s Endowed Scholarship Program, which has assisted 4,500 students in attending Texas A&M since 1968.

The Albritton Bell Tower stands 138 feet tall and contains 49 carillon bells cast at a 200-year-old foundry near Nice, France. The bells ring every quarter hour and can be programmed to play a variety of different music. They ring for graduation events, football victories and before every Silver Taps.

Several of the bells are inscribed with different phrases dedicated to the Albritton family.

“I sing for an Aggie who will never hear my song ... One who gave his life for his country,” reads one bell in dedication to Ford’s brother Frank Albritton, Class of 1945, who was killed in WWII.

Gov. Rick Perry released a statement Monday on the passing of Albritton.

“Throughout his life, Ford gave his all to his country, his community and his beloved Texas A&M University,” Perry said. “His sacrifices on the battlefield, his business acumen and his dedication to the causes he believed in will not be forgotten.”

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