WASHINGTON, DC — With deep sadness, Students For Liberty mourns the passing of our longtime supporter, friend, and a champion of liberty, Ethelmae Craig Humphreys. A truehearted supporter of Students For Liberty since 2015, Ethelmae Humphreys believed in the power of academic freedom and a free society.
Ethelmae was a remarkable woman, a devoted philanthropist, and a successful entrepreneur with a vision far ahead of her time. She dedicated 73 years of her life’s work to TAMKO Building Products, LLC, her father’s legacy, starting as a payroll clerk, bookkeeper, and secretary. Ethelmae became the Chairman in 1973, and returned to work with the company full-time in 1985, later serving as the CEO after her husband’s passing in 1993. She concluded her 73 years of service to TAMKO as Chairman Emerita, having passed on the title of the Chairman to her son, David, in 2019.
Having served on the boards of the Cato Institute, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and the Foundation for Economic Education, Ethelmae Humphreys will be remembered as one of the most prominent voices advocating for individual liberty, free markets, and human flourishing. She founded several charitable organizations in support of individual rights, free enterprise, and civil society. These included both the E.L. Craig Foundation, named for her late father, and the J.P. Humphreys Foundation, named after her late husband.
Together with the J.P. Humphreys Foundation, Ethelmae began supporting Students For Liberty in 2015 at our International Students For Liberty Conference, an annual event bringing together friends of liberty from across the world. Ethelmae understood the value of keeping the lights on, she believed in the power of educating young people and made it her mission to help us continue the work that we do to empower new generations of students.
On Ethelmae’s passing, Students For Liberty’s CEO Dr. Wolf von Laer stated that, “Ethelmae always asked the tough questions but was always kind at the same time. A rare trait that showed her business savviness which I admired greatly. She made me a better leader and Students For Liberty a better organization.”
“With Ethelmae’s passing, our community has suffered an incredible loss. She dedicated her work to support thousands of lives in their aspirations to learn about the philosophy of freedom; she shed a light that will be difficult to replace. Ethelmae will be deeply missed, and we are forever grateful for her continuous support in making SFL, and this world, a better, freer place,” von Laer concluded.
Ethelmae Craig Humphreys passed away on December 27, 2021, just two weeks shy of her 95th birthday. Our community will forever remember and cherish her contribution to the cause of liberty. Ethelmae was an inspiration to countless individuals who may have never met her, but who carry her legacy to this day. We express our deepest condolences to Ethelmae’s family, her children, David, Sarah, and John, their families, and her closest friends. We also express our gratitude for their immense support.