Marguerite Harbert

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Marguerite Harbert
Born Marguerite Jones
Birmingham, Alabama
Died March 17, 2015(2015-03-17) (aged 91)
Mountain Brook, Alabama
Residence Mountain Brook, Alabama
Education Mountain Brook Elementary School
Phillips High School
Alma mater Birmingham–Southern College
Occupation Philanthropist
Net worth US$1.5 billion (2013)
Spouse(s) John M. Harbert
Children John Murdoch Harbert IV
Raymond J. Harbert
Marguerite Harbert Gray
Parent(s) Raymond McAdoo Jones
Marguerite Nabers Jones

Marguerite Jones Harbert (1923 – March 17, 2015) was an American philanthropist and billionaire from Alabama.

Early life[edit]

Margarite Jones was born in 1923 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father was Raymond McAdoo Jones and her mother, Marguerite Nabers Jones.[1] She had a sister, Alice McGriff.[1] She descended from Birmingham's founders.[2]

She was educated at Mountain Brook Elementary School and Phillips High School.[1][2] She graduated from Birmingham–Southern College, where she served as president of the Kappa Delta sorority chapter.[1][2][3]


Jones worked for the American Red Cross in Jefferson County, Alabama.[1][2][3] Later, she volunteered for the "Junior League of Birmingham, Advent Day School, All-Saints School, Children's Hospital, Center for Developmental Learning Disabilities, Spain Rehabilitation, Birmingham Art Association, Birmingham Ballet League, American Heart Association and Linly Heflin Unit."[1][2] A member of the American Needlepoint Guild, she needlepointed an armchair for Alabama Governor's Mansion.[1]

She served on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Birmingham-Southern College, where the Marguerite Jones Harbert Building was named in her honor.[1][2] She was also inducted into its Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.[2] She also served on the Boards of Trustees of the Birmingham Museum of Art and Cancer Comprehensive.[1][2] Additionally, she served on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

She married John M. Harbert, the founder of Harbert Corporation, whom she had met in grade school.[1][3] They had two sons, John Murdoch Harbert IV (born with William's Syndrome) and Raymond J. Harbert (who founded Harbert Management Corporation in 1993), and a daughter, Marguerite Harbert Gray.[1][2] They resided in Mountain Brook, Alabama, and summered in Highlands, North Carolina.[1] They attended St. Mary's on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church.[1]

Her husband predeceased her in 1995. Upon his death, she inherited his fortune. By 2013, she was the wealthiest person in Alabama, with an estimated wealth of US$1.5 billion.[4] She admitted she found it "hard in a way" to be rich.[5]

She was a member of the Nineteenth Century Club and the Little Garden Club of America.[1]


She died on March 17, 2015.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Obituary: Marguerite Jones Harbert, The Birmingham News, March 17, 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Garrison, Greg (March 19, 2015). "Marguerite Harbert, Alabama's only billionaire, dies at 91". The Birmingham News. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "2012 Billionaires List: Dropoff: Marguerite Harbert". 
  4. ^ "Who is Alabama's wealthiest person?". Birmingham Business Journal. October 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ The Associated Press, Alabama's richest person says that being wealthy is 'hard in a way', The Tuscaloosa News, March 2, 2004