Al Birmingham, age 87, (2-28-1933 to 2-20-20) was the guy you wanted in your corner: endlessly supportive and positive, quick to offer advice or a favor — magnanimous to a fault.
Allen “Al” George Birmingham was born in Coraopolis, PA as one of the 8 children born to George and Helen Birmingham. Al started his lifelong love of golf as a caddy at the age of 9, became a caddy master at 14, and graduated from Moon High School (1951) with varsity letters in basketball and golf. The first of his family to attend college, Al graduated from Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship as a teammate of Arnold Palmer (1955).
After college, Al served in the Chemical Corps of the Army. Following his honorable discharge, Al sold pharmaceuticals and insurance until he became a sales rep for Titleist, a position he proudly held for 34 years. With Titleist, Al was responsible for the southwest territory and was awarded Titleist National Salesperson of the Year multiple times (1977, 1978, and 1989). If you spent time with Al in the last 30 years, you would’ve walked away with Titleist accoutrements — a “doz” golf balls, a visor, bucket cap, FootJoy socks, etc. Even after retirement, Al never stopped representing the brand he loved, mentoring other salespeople, and being sure everyone knew that Titleist was the number one brand in golf.
Al’s “family unit” was his most treasured success. He never tired of sharing in the triumphs of his 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandsons. His wife, Marion Winne Birmingham, was his steadfast partner for 62 years when she passed in 2018. Their love began at age 14, grew into high school sweethearts, matured into marriage on September 10th, 1955, thrived with multiple state and cross-country moves, flourished during changes in career, and endured through life’s ups and downs. Al passed peacefully, surrounded by family, on February 20th, 2020. Al is survived by his children Scott (Annie), Jan, Susan DeLozier (Henry), Jill Iserman (Lance), Allen, and their families.
Al loved black licorice, red wine, meals and pies made by Marion, time spent on the golf course, fishing, his cabin in the White Mountains, his family — and so much more. The only things he didn’t like were negative talk and swimming in any month that wasn’t August. Al’s last words, when asked how he was feeling, were, “I’m perfect”.
Al will be remembered at the Celebration of Life on March 29, 2020 from 3:00-5:00 P.M., at The Grayhawk Golf Club, 8620 E. Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255. Enter near Fairway House entrance.
You had wonderful parents. I think they are together in heaven, gardening and golfing!
May God bless and keep you, and hold you in the palm of his hands.
Helen King Dixon
To Allen and Marion’s family,
I was sorry to hear that Allen has passed away. It sounds as if he had a great life and will be missed by all of you.
The Titleist Salesman all other representative tried to emulate. Always caring, always teaching with patience of a Saint. Not only selling techniques but life decisions that affected careers.
We miss you Al but we always knew heaven held a special tee time for one of the Best.
Danny & June
To the Birmingham Family,
I only learned about Al’s passing today, and I wanted to share a few thoughts and offer my sincerest condolences to all his children and extended family.
Al and I first met in 1963 at Papago Golf Course in Phoenix. At that time I had just started playing golf and my Dad and I were paired in a foursome with Al and one of his friends. We quickly became friends after that and we remained good friends until his passing. I know people sometimes embellish a person’s goodness and success when they pass, but I’m not going to do that, here’s the truth. I can honestly say I have never met a finer individual during my lifetime than Al Birmingham. He was intelligent, hard working, thoughtful, generous, and compassionate toward his fellow man. If I ever needed a solution to a problem, Al was always the first person I consulted, because I knew he would impart wisdom I didn’t have.
Through the years, I had the pleasure of playing golf with Al hundreds of times. Golf is a wonderful game in many ways, but it’s much more than just a recreational sport. It’s an opportunity to meet people, make friends, and truly get to know them. Golf exposes a person’s character more so than most sports. It’s a game that requires patience, persistence, good manners, and above all honesty and integrity. I believe this is why Al devoted his lifetime and career to golf. Yes it’s true, he was always the loyal salesman, but that isn’t why he worked for Titleist in the golf industry. Golf helped Al become the person he wanted to be and in fact was.
During this time Al and I spent on the golf course we had many opportunities to converse. One way or another the conversations would always include Al’s family. To Al, telling others about his family was the highlight of everyday. And not once, not even once, in over 50 years of our friendship, did I ever hear Al say one negative thing about Marion or any of his children or extended family. He loved all of them unconditionally. He wasn’t perfect and none of us are, but he was the loving parent every child deserves, and it was a very heart warming and beautiful thing to see.
In closing, I want Al’s family to know how wonderful it was for me to have Al as a life long friend. I will forever keep he and Marion in my prayers and thoughts. And to Scott, Jan, Susie, Allen, and Jill, I would like you know that someone you barely know loved him dearly and will miss him also.