E. Craig Wall, Jr. | Legacy of Leadership Profile
E. Craig Wall, Jr.
Craig Wall, Jr., was respected as one of the most successful business leaders in South Carolina. His Canal Industries and affiliates represent a major presence in the forestry and wood products industry in the Southeast, providing jobs for 2,800 professionals and skilled employees. For 35 years, he had a hand in nearly every significant business venture along the South Carolina coast. He was a member of public and private corporate boards. He served on the boards of seven colleges and universities. At one time or another, he was involved with 40 boards, forums, task forces, and councils.
Yet, Craig Wall was a humble, unassuming, and private man who asked for no public credit. But his contributions to his community, state, and nation stand as a living monument to his dedication and compassion.
Edwin Craig Wall, Jr., was born August 21, 1937, in Conway, one of four children of E. Craig and May Howard Wall. He was reared in Conway with three sisters, May Ervin Wall, Harriet Wall Martin, and Nell Wall Otto.
He attended the public schools of Conway and graduated from Conway High School, which later honored him as a distinguished alumnus and inducted him into its Hall of Fame. He received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Davidson College in 1959 and a master's in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1962.
After he received his degree from Harvard, Wall returned to Conway and Canal Industries, a company his father founded in 1935. Father and son worked together for the next 23 years. Craig Wall, Jr., was named president and chief operating officer in 1969, and after his father died in 1985, he also became chief executive officer.
What his father began, Craig Wall, Jr., built on, modernized, and computerized. Today, Canal Industries, Inc., and its affiliates are privately owned forest products companies headquartered in Conway, with offices throughout the Southeast and customers around the world.
Canal provides a broad array of services related to land and forest management and wood fiber procurement. Canal Wood Corporation supplies 10 million tons of raw wood fiber to 400 customers. Canal Forest Resources, Inc., manages 650,000 acres of timberland for institutional and other investors.
Other subsidiaries are involved in land management, development, and sales; real estate brokerage; the development of rural home sites; wood chip production; and the handling of bulk chips. Canal also has an equity interest in New South, Inc., which owns and operates sawmills and wood-treating facilities.
Despite his business responsibilities, Craig Wall devoted countless hours to organizations and institutions locally and throughout the state. In the Lowcountry, he was a member of the board of Conway Hospital, the Belle W. Baruch Foundation Advisory Council, and the Horry County Board of Higher Education. He received the Pee Dee Council Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award and the Conway American Legion Post 3 Distinguished Service Award. In 1973, Wall was one of the principal leaders in establishing the United Way of Horry County.
Wall was a member of the boards of directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina, Citizens & Southern Corporation and later NationsBank Corporation, SCANA Corporation, Sonoco Products Company, and Ruddick Corporation, and was a member of the Duke Endowment Board of Trustees. He was also a board member of several private companies, among them Dargan Construction Company; Spann, Inc.; Chicora Development Corporation; Waccamaw Clay Products Company, Inc.; and Litchfield Enterprises, Inc.
Wall served as chairman of the Davidson College Board of Trustees and was a member of the boards of Coastal Carolina College, Converse College, Coker College, Presbyterian College, Montreat–Anderson College, and Clemson University.
He received honorary degrees from Coastal Carolina College and Coker College in 1989. The year before, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce honored him as its Businessman of the Year.
Wall also served on the South Carolina Tourism Council and the boards of the University of South Carolina Business Partnership Foundation, South Carolina Research Authority, and the South Carolina Mental Health Association.
In 1956, Wall met Judith Atkins, daughter of James Murrey and Judith Woods Atkins of Charlotte. They were married August 28, 1959, at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte.
They were the parents of three children, Judith Atkins Wall, Edwin Craig Wall III, and Benjamin Rutledge Wall II.
For many years, the Wall family worshipped at Kingston Presbyterian Church in Conway, where Craig Wall served as a trustee.
E. Craig Wall, Jr., died March 5, 1997, in Charlotte.
At the time of his death, he was chairman of the board of trustees of Brookgreen Gardens. Following his death, Judith Wall and the three Wall children donated $1 million to Brookgreen Gardens. The gift was a lead contribution toward a $3 million project that will renovate one of Brookgreen's original buildings and create the E. Craig Wall Lowcountry Center, which will give visitors an overview of Lowcountry life and history.
Wall was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1998. His father was inducted in 1986.
© 1999 South Carolina Business Hall of Fame