Obituary: Alfred Warrington IV

Alfred Coard “Al” Warrington, IV (1935-2020)

Alfred Coard “Al” Warrington, IV, 84, died May 20, 2020, at 7:15 a.m. in Miami, Florida, of natural causes. He is survived by his wife of 19 years, Judy Warrington; sons Al (Stephanie) of Pompano Beach and Tom of Gainesville; his grandchildren Luke, Jordan, and Jake; his brother Robert; nephews Bill, Jack, Wayne, Gary, and Robert Jr.; his nieces Debbie (Warrington) Silbert and Jenny; his godchildren Crystal Spearman and Abbie and Landen Hart; and many, many friends who loved him dearly.

The eldest of four boys, Al was born on September 5, 1935, in Upper Darby (Suburban Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. His father was an automobile dealer and home builder in New Jersey and Florida. His mother was from Maryland. After graduating from high school in Ocean City, New Jersey, Al earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Florida in 1958. While at UF, he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity (Theta Delta Chapter).

Upon graduation from UF, and following a brief stint in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Al joined the national accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co. in Atlanta. Gifted with an almost photographic memory for numbers and a strong drive to succeed, he made partner quickly. He also had the ability to bring people together. He became the partner in charge of the firm’s Miami office in 1973. The office grew under his leadership, and he later moved to Houston to help establish the firm’s southwest regional audit practice. In 1989, he retired from Arthur Andersen to become the co-founder and chairman of Sanifill, Inc., an environmental company based in Houston, Texas. The company went public on the NYSE and, after a series of mergers, evolved into what today is known as Waste Management, Inc. He also co-founded Atlanta-based health and beauty aids manufacturer House of Cheatham, Inc. and was a founding member of other Texas-based companies, including Frontier Waste, Houston Plating and Coating, and Gulf Coast Mechanical.

Dad often said, “All you have is your integrity” and “Any job worth doing is worth doing well.” Later in life, he would say, “You don’t really work for yourself. You work for others, and the important thing is to care for others with the blessings God has given to you. We try to be good stewards of those blessings.”

Al had a servant’s heart. He loved the Lord and was a very strong supporter of his church in Texas and numerous charitable and religious organizations. One of the great passions of his life was the University of Florida. Deeply grateful for the opportunities his university education afforded him and profoundly affected by the deep and enduring friendships made during his fraternity years, Al set about giving back. In the 1970’s, he was instrumental in creating UF’s School of Accounting. He was the driving force behind the effort to turn the accounting department into a standalone school. Always willing to talk with students and faculty and never one to miss a meeting or decline to spearhead some new initiative, he was named Distinguished Alumnus in 1979. UF’s Fisher School of Accounting honored him as an Outstanding Alumnus in 1985. He would go on to serve the university in numerous volunteer capacities, including positions on the UF Foundation Board and as President of the UF Alumni Association. He served on the UF Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2013.

In 1996, Al provided his first major gift of $12 million to the then-College of Business Administration. The college’s name was changed to the “Warrington College of Business Administration” in appreciation. In 2009, he announced that he would make another donation of $16 million, eligible for matching funds from the state, to support the college’s accounting and entrepreneurship programs. He also made major donations to Chi Phi and its Educational Trust.

Al was also passionate about UF’s men’s and women’s sports programs. A Bull Gator, he served for years on the Gator Boosters Board of Directors. He supported student athletes through multiple endowments. Al also helped design the financing program that allowed the UF Athletic Association to fund new projects such as the additions of the north and south end zones and the skyboxes at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, as well as new tennis, track, baseball, and basketball practice facilities. In recognition of his past service to the university’s sports program, he was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as an “Honorary Letter Winner” in 2003.

In 2014, Al and Judy made history with a $75 million legacy gift pledge. The gift made Al UF’s first $100 million donor. At that time, the couple received the Academy of Golden Gators Lifetime of Philanthropy Award. To say Al bled Orange & Blue is an understatement.

But there was so much more to him. He helped so many other people throughout his long life.

Al loved his family deeply. He also loved to fish, whether with his family and friends in the Gulf of Mexico, backcountry near his Treasure Island, Texas home, or in the Atlantic Ocean off South Florida. Al was perhaps never happier than when he was out on the water with a fishing rod in his hand. That is, of course, unless the Gators were beating up on the ‘Noles. Few things made him happier than a Gators victory, especially when his grandchildren were cheering alongside him.

We love and miss you, Al.

Owing to COVID-19 concerns, a celebration of Al’s life will be held later in the year.

We, the family of Al, request that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the Warrington Excellence Fund or to the charity of your choice. Donations to the fund should be sent to: UF Foundation Inc., Warrington Excellence Fund (1901), PO Box 14425, Gainesville, FL 32604.

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