Henry Floyd Surles was born in Dillon, South Carolina, to W.P. and Phoebe Coates Surles on May 19, 1882. He was a 1908 graduate of Furman University and was ordained by Riverside (now Second) Baptist Church in Greenville. He graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1911.
Surles served seven churches in four states – Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, and South Carolina (North Augusta, Winnsboro, and Society Hill) before retiring in 1952. From 1927-1944, Surles was clerk of the Fairfield Association. From 1939 to 1956, Surles was assistant recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention, and served as assistant secretary to the General Board for twenty-three years. He served as a trustee of the S.C. Baptist Hospital, 1938-1952. Surles died May 20, 1973 in Darlington, S.C.