James L. "Bucky" WolfordDecember 1, 1946 ~ September 1, 2017 (age 70)
James L. “Bucky” Wolford died on September 1, 2017 at age 70.
Bucky was born December 1, 1946, in Warrior, Alabama. Bucky’s family moved to Kimberly, Alabama, a small coal-mining town approximately twenty (20) miles north of Birmingham, when he was one year old and this is where he was raised. During his senior year of high school, Bucky was captain of the football team and was President of the National Honor Society.
Bucky received a football scholarship to the University of Chattanooga and graduated from the University in the summer of 1969. Bucky received a B. S. degree from the University with majors in Math and Education. During his time at the University, he was co-captain of the football team and Little All-American, selected to the Blue Key Honor Society and Cadet Battalion Commander of the University of Chattanooga ROTC. His 13 career interceptions are tied for the school record. One of the highlights of his sophomore season was 51 yard fumble return for a score against Auburn. In 1968 he led the Mocs in rushing and went on to post a career average of 5.2 yards per carry, which remains in the top 10 in the record book. Another highlight that same season was when he returned kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown against Ole Miss. The 1968 season was the first under head coach Harold Wilkes, and Chattanooga’s 9-1 record that year is the best in school history.
In 1989 he was inducted into the UTC Athletic Hall Fame. He also won the Joe Morrison Award, given to a former UTC student-athlete for lifetime accomplishments, in 1993. His biggest impact on UTC may have come after his playing days. A successful businessman, Wolford generously supported his beloved Mocs. UTC's current weight room is officially called the Wolford Family Strength & Conditioning Center because of his generosity. He also endowed a UTC football scholarship in his father’s name, Woodrow Wolford, Sr. Scholarship, given out to a running back who receives high marks on the field and scholastically.
Bucky began his career in retail development 45 years ago in 1972 with Arlen Shopping Centers, Inc. In 1978, Bucky along with four others broke away from Arlen and formed CBL and Associates, Inc. During the next 15 years, under Bucky’s direction as Senior Executive Vice President, CBL & Associates portfolio grew to 22,000,000 square feet of retail space. Bucky’s retail experience includes the development of fifteen enclosed regional malls as well as numerous strip centers. In January 1999 he formed Wolford Development, Inc., and headed the development firm until the time of his death.
A lengthy career in commercial development earned him a spot in the UTC Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He has served as a member of Board of Trustees of Baylor School, Tennessee Director of International Shopping Centers, a member of the Athletics Board of UTC, UT Board of Trustees and, until recently, was the Chairman of the UC Foundation. He was recently selected as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 2017 Outstanding Service Award, as well as, selected by The Tennessee Alumnus Magazine as a Centennial Alumni honoring him as one of the 100 most distinguished, well known or memorable graduates in Tennessee history. Perhaps the greatest recognition he received during his life was being selected as a Lifetime Trustee of the UC Foundation. Bucky was a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents Woodrow and Ethelene Wolford.
Bucky is survived by his wife of 48 years, Diane Wolford; two sons, Clint (Melissa) Wolford, and Chad (Lindsay) Wolford; grandsons, Jackson and Austin Wolford; granddaughters, Madison and Lillian Wolford; sisters, Monte Nelson and Darlene Wolford, brothers, Woodrow and Greg Wolford; several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 3 PM Sunday, September 17, in the Patten Chapel of UTC.
A Celebration of Life will follow from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at the Mountain City Club.
Donations can be made in his name to UTC Athletics, C/O Office of Development and Alumni Office, Department 6806, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598.
Please visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share words of comfort.
The family will receive friends from 1:30 to 3 PM Sunday, September 17, in the Patten Chapel of UTC.
Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, East Brainerd Road.