Philadelphia-based Beech Companies mourns the passing last week of Floyd W. Alston, the organization’s founding president.
Alston, who served as Beech president from 1990-2005, was credited as a business and community development leader who was instrumental in the growth and vitality of North Central Philadelphia. Alston, who would have turned age 87 next month, passed today after a long illness.
Established in 1990, Beech Companies was designed to bring together business, government and non-profit entities to revitalize the Cecil B. Moore neighborhood, which had experienced decades of economic decline. During his tenure with Beech, Alston partnered with various groups, including Temple University, and brought new investment to the community, assembling the resources that resulted in more than $500 million in private development, including new retail shops, restaurants and office space. Beech Companies has leveraged a total of more than $1 Billion in public and private investment since 1990.
Beech Companies President Kenneth Scott issued the following statement about the passing of Alston:
“All employees and supporters of Beech Companies are in mourning today with the passing of our visionary founding president Floyd W. Alston. Mr. Alston’s work in improving the quality-of-life and the housing improvements for those living in North Philadelphia and the Cecil B. Moore Community will last forever. Alston was a business visionary, neighborhood developer and public servant. His lifelong dedication as a community leader is an inspirational example for all Philadelphians.
“One of Mr. Alston’s great skills was his ability to bring all different types of people together in order to reach a common goal. Mr. Alston long promoted quality education, affordable housing and economic development throughout the city,” Scott continued.
“In 2006, Beech Companies created the Alston-Beech Foundation (ABF) to provide small program grants to local nonprofit organizations whose mission will complement and foster other revitalization efforts that improve the North Center Philadelphia community,” Scott added. ” ABF recognizes Alston’s contribution as a humanitarian and his vision of philanthropic giving has been paramount to the revitalization of the community. We will continue ABF and our commitment to the improvement of North Central Philadelphia in Mr. Alston’s memory.”
Floyd W. Alston, who grew up in North Philadelphia, has had a wide-ranging professional career as vice president of First Pennsylvania Bank; president of the HOPE Development Corp.; manager of the Philadelphia Housing Authority; vice chair of the Berean Federal Savings Bank; treasurer and member of the Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper board of directors; and treasurer of the African American Historical and Cultural Museum (now the African American Museum in Philadelphia).
As civic leader, Alston has been president, vice president and a board member for the School District of Philadelphia; a founding member and former president and director of the Tucker House nursing care facility; founding member and president of J.M. Housing Inc., which provides low-income families with rental housing; and vice president of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp.
He has served on the boards of the Avenue of the Arts Inc., the Philadelphia Scholars Fund and many other community service oriented organizations.
Alston is a graduate of Temple University, having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1970. Mr. Alston received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Temple in 2008. He has also studied at the Fels Institute of State and Local Government and is a licensed medical technician from the Franklin School of Science and Arts.
Alston is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marilyn Baker Alston; a son, Craig E.S. Alston, and a daughter Suzanne Hodges and two grandchildren
The first viewing for Alston will take place Friday, September 28. 2012, 5 PM to 8 PM at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19144. Another viewing will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 8 AM to 10 AM at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown with funeral services starting at 10 AM at the same church.
Letters of condolences can be sent to Beech Companies, 1510 Cecil B. Moore Ave, Philadelphia, Pa. 19121, and the letters will be delivered to Alston’s family.