J. Keith Alford spent nearly all of his working years in the family business. You might know that business as Adam Meldrum & Anderson Co., the preferred department store of Western New Yorkers for generations, the eight-story downtown flagship renowned for its glittering Christmas window displays and cozy Yankee Doodle Room. Mr. Alford, of Amherst, NY, died November 2, 2020, after a period of declining health. He was 79. “He loved working with people,” said Mr. Alford’s daughter, Ann Alford, who said he described AM&A’s as a “challenging and exciting place to work.” Mr. Alford was best known among his many friends for his easygoing nature. “People repeatedly talk about what a kind, gentle, honest and even-tempered man he was, and many people remember his great laugh,” his daughter said. Born April 8, 1941 in Buffalo, Mr. Alford was the middle child of Mary-Louise Kittinger Alford and Dr. J. Edwin Alford. He attended Campus School, then Nichols School, and spent his final two years of high school at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Mass., graduating in 1960. On June 14, 1963, in Trinity Church, Mr. Alford married Wende Stevens Adam, the daughter of Robert Borthwick Adam III, grandson of the founder of AM&A’s and the store’s top executive. While the couple had “known each other forever,” their daughter said, they had their first date at a New Year’s Eve party at the urging of their younger siblings, who were close friends. He graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in English from Syracuse University, where he belonged to Phi Delta Theta fraternity. From 1965 to 1966, Mr. Alford worked as a salesman for the Kittinger Furniture Co. in Buffalo. He then went to work for AM&A’s, first as receiving and marketing manager, then as merchandising contractor. From 1969 to 1980, he was vice president of operations, guiding AM&A’s through its expansion heyday. From 1980 to 1994, he was president and chief operating officer, the start of a gradual transition of the company’s management, said CEO Robert Borthwick Adam III, Mr. Alford’s father-in-law. “Instead of a one-man show, it’s been a two-man show since 1980,” Mr. Adam told The News in 1989. In 1989, Mr. Adam stepped down as CEO of the company, making Mr. Alford his successor and remaining as chairman. Under Mr. Alford’s leadership, the downtown AM&A’s store defied trends by outselling its nine suburban stores. In May 1994, AM&A’s was sold to The Bon-Ton Stores, a regional retailer based in York, Pa. Mr. Alford worked as a consultant for The Bon-Ton for a while, then joined his longtime friend Stuart Hunt in the Hunt Commercial Real Estate Corp. as a shopping center and retail consultant/licensed agent. Through the years, Mr. Alford was a member of the board of directors of Marine Midland Bank Western Region in Buffalo, of McCurdy & Co. in Rochester and of Frederick Atkins, Inc., in New York City. A trustee of Buffalo General Hospital starting in 1985, he was secretary to the board from 1991 to 1996. He was a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Greater Buffalo Partnership between 1993 and 1995. A member of the Western New York Retail Merchants Association and its board of directors from 1980 to 1992, he belonged to the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce and served on its board from 1983 to 1985. He also served on the board of AAA of Western and Central New York, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the United Way, and was chair of Buffalo Place and the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was on the board of directors of the Greater Buffalo Development Foundation in 1990. Mr. Alford was dean of the Saturn Club in 1984 and director of the Buffalo Yacht Club from 1995 to 1998. He was listed as a noteworthy department store executive by Marquis Who’s Who. His major volunteer commitment was to the Salvation Army, where he served on the advisory board for 40 years, starting in 1976. He was secretary of the board of directors from 1984 to 1985, vice chairman in 1989 and chairman in 1990. Especially after retirement, Mr. Alford enjoyed visiting his family’s property, Longhouse, in Muskoka, Ont. He was an avid sailor and skier and belonged to the Buffalo Ski Club in the 1970s. He also enjoyed antique cars, woodworking and traveling. Mr. Alford was a member of North Presbyterian Church in Amherst, and served on its Session before becoming ill. He was devoted to his wife and family, said his daughter, and was “a fantastic ‘Poppie’ to his seven grandchildren, all of whom adored him.” Besides his daughter, Ann Alford, Mr. Alford is survived by his wife of 57 years, Wende Adam Alford; two sons, Scott and James Alford ’87; a sister, Gail Gundlah; a brother, Bryant Alford; and seven grandchildren. A private family service has been held.
Susan Reeves Whalen passed away Monday, August 13, 2018 at her home in Arlington, MA after a long illness. Daughter of Helen Manley Reeves and Dr. Edgar Earl Reeves, she was born May 14, 1942 at the House of Mercy in Pittsfield.
She was a graduate of the Northampton School for Girls and majored in social work at Simmons College in Boston. She nurtured a lifelong passion for caring for the disadvantaged, serving as an outspoken advocate, both professionally and personally, for the rights of children with special needs. Among the many causes and accomplishments of her life, Susan founded and directed the Conway, NH School for People with Special Needs as well as the Conway Regional Day Camp, and she was appointed to the first Board of Directors for Hospice of Berkshire County. She contributed as an editor to the Compassionate Friends Newsletter, a nonprofit organization for the bereaved, and was a recipient of the “Foster Parent of the Year” by Specialized Home Care. She volunteered at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Medical Center, where she learned to care for medically compromised infants. In the course of her work and in raising the family that meant so much to her, Susan’s life touched many people, and her deep commitment to be ever mindful of the needs of others will endure as a legacy to those who knew and loved her.
Susan was the beloved wife of the late Kearons J. Whalen, III, whom she married in Pittsfield in 1973. They lovingly raised twelve children on Snow Goose Farm in Lanesborough, where she instilled in her family a love and respect for nature and the care of animals. Later in life, she was rarely seen without the companionship of her pets, especially her devoted dog Maggie. An avid reader and writer, she contributed articles to the Berkshire Eagle Sampler and was the author of a novel, Murder on Houseboat Row, inspired by her second home of Key West, where she was active in the arts and marine conservation.
She is survived by eleven children – Geoffrey (Hilary) of Wayne, PA; Eliza (Marco) and Richard, both of Holyoke, MA; Joshua (Leann) of Ballston Lake, NY; Rachel of Oakland, CA; Oliver (Ellen) of Houston, TX; Kearons (Barrie) of Arlington, MA; Reeves (Jenni) of Castle Rock, CO; Jessie of Pittsfield, MA; Ben, and Prudence, both of Arlington, MA. She was predeceased by a son, Joseph, and her sister Marsha Reeves Snyder of Pittsfield, MA. She leaves two sisters, Sally Reeves Edmonds of Cambridge, MA and Robin Reeves Colt (’57) (Sam) of Walnut Creek, CA, as well as fourteen grandchildren.
Richard Alan Seybolt, of Duluth and Boynton Beach, Florida, died unexpectedly on May 19, 2015. Rick was born on October 4, 1942, in Columbus, Ohio, to Alan Upson Seybolt and Dorothea Hoover Seybolt. Shortly after his birth, his family relocated to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where his father worked during the war.
Rick spent his grade school years in Scotia and Schenectady, New York. He attended high school at the Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts (now known as the Williston Northampton School) where he lettered in soccer, basketball and baseball. He completed his undergraduate degree at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He obtained a master’s degree in Spain, and completed his PhD in Spanish at Indiana University.
Born in Holyoke, he was the son of the late Donald and Wanda (Swazlowski) Carr.
Don graduated in 1960 from Williston Academy and received his bachelors of science degree from Middlebury College in Vermont.
He retired as an accountant for Wallace Tax in Northampton. Don was a Vietnam War veteran serving with the United States Army, a shareholder with the Pulaski Club in Easthampton, and a I.R.S. enrolled agent.
He leaves his wife Karen Carr; his son Nicholas Carr and his wife Elodia Villasenor of San Francisco, Calif.; his step-daughter Sara Harvey and her husband David of Springfield; his brother Jonathan Carr and his wife Mel of Decatur, Ga.; and his grandchildren Henry, Itzia and Maya.
Lily passed away March 2013. She was born in Chicago and grew up in Libertyville and Kenilworth, Illinois. She was a graduate of Northampton School for Girls and Northwestern University and attended graduate school at UCLA where she was a Teaching Assistant. In the late 60’s she taught English at the Universita’ di Roma.