By Ron Hayes
BOCA RATON — After he retired from his financial consulting firm a couple of years ago, Alan Alford became a city employee once again.
“He went to work as a ranger at Sugar Sands and Patch Reef parks three days a week,” recalled Lenore Alford, his wife of 59 years. “He said to me, ‘Where else can you be in a beautiful park, riding around in a golf cart?’ ”
For Mr. Alford, who was 84 when he died Oct. 10 at home, being a park ranger was the last in a series of city jobs that began more than 50 years before.
Alan Carlisle Alford was born in Mineola, N.Y., on Aug. 4, 1931, and came to Florida after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy.
After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in business administration, he arrived in Boca Raton in 1958 and became assistant city manager in 1960. Six years later he was promoted to city manager, and when a dispute with the City Council led to his dismissal, he ran for mayor, and won.
After serving as mayor from 1973-74, Mr. Alford opened Alford & Associates, then went on to serve on the City Council for many years.
“He was a very, very smart person who knew what needed to be done,” said Al Travasos, a former council member who served with Mr. Alford in the 1980s. “He understood the issues, and politics wasn’t a part of his decision-making process. It was, ‘What’s the best thing to do here?’ And he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.”
During his time in public life, Mr. Alford was devoted to preserving open spaces for the public’s use, focusing on the purchase of coastal property and public parks.
Following his retirement, he and his wife enjoyed traveling the world, including trips to China, Italy, Norway, Greece, England, Spain and Vietnam.
“We had a wonderful life of travel,” his wife said. “Our bucket list was to go to the Panama Canal, and last fall we took a cruise there. He was just a very special man.”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Alford is survived by two sons, James and Gregg; two daughters, Dawn Zook and Patricia Washam; a sister, Patricia Lockwood; and 11 grandchildren.
A memorial service was held Oct. 16 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Boca Raton.
The family asks that remembrances be made to Hospice by the Sea (www.hbts.org) or St. Paul Lutheran Church.