Distinguished alumnus McCleskey was engineering scholarship donor


Samuel Warren McClesky died Jan. 10, 2017, at his home in Rome, Georgia. He was 87.

McCleskey earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1951.  He was a dedicated supporter of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering. He created the McCleskey Honor Scholarship in 1998 for engineering students. He also served as a member of the school’s campaign committee and was chair of the Class of ’51 Reunion in 2001. In 2007, he was inducted into the school’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He was a longtime member of the engineering school’s former Lewis Society.

McCleskey attended Vanderbilt on a Naval ROTC scholarship and upon graduation he served in the Navy for three years. After his military service, he returned to Memphis to follow in his father’s footsteps by working as a surveyor with his father’s company. In 1956, he went to work with Gulf Oil Co. as a construction engineer in Louisiana. Next, he served as vice president of construction for J.E. Milne Company.

McClesky’s granddaughter and artist Rachel “Tippy” Boyd created this portrait of Sam from a photograph when he was in his 20s.

In 1961 he founded the McCleskey Construction Co., with special strength in designing and building mausoleums. At the same time he opened an architectural engineering division, McF Architects, and in 1963 he moved his company’s home office to Atlanta.

McCleskey was active in the funeral industry in Atlanta and on a national level. He was one of only six people inducted into the Suppliers Hall of Fame for the cemetery and funeral industry. He has served on the boards of directors of the Georgia Cemetery Association, the Southern Cemetery Association and the National Association of Cemeteries.

He is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.