Alabama Women's Hall of Fame

Mary George Jordan Waite (1917-1990)

Mary George Jordan Waite

Born in Centre, Alabama on August 8, 1917, Mary George Jordan was the only child of J. Oleus and Louise Smith Jordan. After graduating from Cherokee County High School, she attended Montgomery's Huntingdon College where in 1939 she earned a degree in English. She soon married Daniel W. Waite who was serving in the U.S. Army. She traveled with him for two years to various military bases in the United States and then returned to Centre to serve as a teacher at her high school alma mater.

In January 1957, after the death of her father, Mary George became president of Farmers and Merchants Bank - a position her father had held for many years. Active in local, state, and national banking circles, she was the first woman to serve as the president of the Alabama Bankers Association and also was a regional vice president of the National Association of Bank Women. Governor Fob James appointed her to a six-year term on the State Banking Board. She promoted women in the corporate structure at her bank and appointed women to every major committee in the Alabama Bankers Association.

Waite held leadership roles in numerous organizations. She was president of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce for two terms, state president of the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs, state president of the Alabama Department of the American Legion Auxiliary, and at various times held most offices at the county and state levels of the American Cancer Society.

Waite was a founding member of the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame board of directors. She served as a trustee of Huntingdon College, where she was the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree and their "alumna of the year" award. In addition, she was a member of the president's cabinet for the University of Alabama, the advisory board of the School of Business at Auburn University, the board of trustees for the International House program at Jacksonville State University, and the development committee at Birmingham-Southern College.

Waite was the founding director of the Miss Cherokee County Pageant, a preliminary Miss Alabama program, and was involved in the pageant's production every year until her death in 1990. She was also highly active in the Alabama Girls State program for more than 25 years.

She was an active promoter of the Boy Scout program, serving as both district chairman and council president, and was awarded the Silver Beaver. She was also a state and national leader in the Alabama 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs - particularly each group's foundation.

A member of the Centre First Methodist Church, she served numerous years as church organist and Sunday School teacher. She was also a member of the finance committee and administrative board and was a frequent guest speaker on the local, state, and national circuits.

Mary George Waite gave of herself to build a stronger Alabama through her leadership, education, and her dedication to the development of youth throughout the state.

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Alabama Women's Hall of Fame