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Aflac co-founder Paul Amos remembered as man of integrity

By Chuck Williams, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 06--Paul S. Amos was remembered as a man of "rock-solid integrity" during a Saturday afternoon funeral at St. Luke United Methodist Church.

But it was Aflac's longtime general counsel Joey Loudermilk who put Amos' death into historical context. Loudermilk, who is retiring this year, spoke for many of the company's employees when he said "a giant has fallen."

"This is the end of an era," he said. "The first generation of Aflac leadership has now drawn to a close."

The Columbus-based supplemental insurance company was founded in 1955 by John Amos, a Fort Walton Beach, Fla., lawyer who brought his dream of starting an insurance company to Georgia. He was soon followed by his older brother, Bill, and his younger brother, Paul.

John died in 1990 and Bill died in 1997.

Paul Amos, 88, died Wednesday night at Doctors Hospital in Columbus after an extended illness. He was interred at Parkhill Cemetery after the service.

Loudermilk said Paul's life was grounded in love and used portions of 1 Corinthians: Chapter 13 to illustrate his point.

"Love is kind, long suffering, does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not behave rudely," Loudermilk said.

"Love bears all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never fails."

He then explained his reference.

"These words provide the brush strokes, which paint a picture of our Mr. Paul," Loudermilk said.

Around 600 people attended the funeral, but an estimated 1,500 were at a family visitation an hour prior to the service at the church's Ministry Center.

Paul's wife of 65 years, Jean, their son and current Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos, and grandson and namesake, Aflac President Paul Amos II, were among the several dozen family members greeting a line of friends and Aflac employees, past and present, that stretched around the large room and out the door.

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In contrast to John Amos' funeral 24 years ago that was attended by many of the nation's leading politicians, Paul Amos' funeral was a family affair -- the Amos family, the Aflac family and the St. Luke family all well represented.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and state Rep. Calvin Smyre were among a small number of politicians at the service.

Paul's pallbearers were members of Aflac's security team.

Loudermilk and the Rev. Robert Beckham, pastor at St. Luke, told stories of Paul's love of singing and his use of it later in his life.

Loudermilk and his grandson visited Paul in his 19th-floor office inside the Wynnton Road headquarters about two years ago.

Paul ended the visit by singing "Amazing Grace," one of the three hymns sang Saturday during the memorial service.

"He sang it in this beautiful, soaring voice. It sounded a little better than what we heard a while ago," Loudermilk said.

Beckham told a story of giving home communion to Paul and Jean when Paul's illness would not allow him to regularly attend church.

After communion, Paul, in a weakened state, started to sing after being urged to by his wife.

"In a clear voice, perfect pitch and with all his heart, he sang all three verses of 'He Lives,'" Beckham said. "That hymn outlines his personality, which emerged from his faith."

Beckham said if you had to use one word to describe Paul, it would be integrity.

"That is a message he passed on to his son, Dan," Beckham said. "And it was at the heart of everything he did."

___

(c)2014 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.)

Visit the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.) at www.ledger-enquirer.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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