JOSEPH LAWRENCE “LARRY” ALFORD, JR.

AAFA #0714

1947 FL – 2006 FL

 

 

[Nearly identical articles were published on the same day in the Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Houston Co., AL; and News Journal, Pensacola, Escambia Co., FL.]

 

TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT

Tallahassee, Leon Co., FL—Wednesday, 19 April 2006

 

MARIANNA [Jackson Co.]—Joseph “Larry” Lawrence Alford Jr., 59, died Friday, March 31, 2006, after a brief illness. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday at Chipola College Auditorium. Entombment will be at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens. James & Sikes Funeral Home, Maddox Chapel (850-482-2332) is handling arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Larry Alford Memorial Scholarship College Foundation, 3094 Indian Circle Road, Marianna, FL 32446.

            He was born Feb. 22, 1947, to Ruth Whiddon Alford and Joseph Lawrence Alford. Larry graduated from Marianna High School, then went on to earn an Associate of Arts from Chipola Junior College, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of West Florida and a Masters of Fine Arts in theater from Florida State University. From 1969 to 1976, he taught at Chipola Junior College, where he directed 27 theater productions. The first was Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” in November 1969. The last was “Guys and Dolls” in March 1976. Among the many actors he brought to Marianna were W. C. “Mutt” Burton, Ann B. Davis, Robert Horton, Ken Howard and Peter Palmer. While at Chipola, he also led annual theater trips to New York. He had a profound influence on his students, some of whom went on to have careers in film, television and theater.

            Larry moved to New York in 1976, where he pursued an active career in theater. Before his big break, he was a contestant on game shows such as “$25,000 Pyramid” and “Jackpot.” In 1985 he directed the Tony-nominated “Jerry’s Girls,” a celebration of the music and lyrics of Jerry Herman. “Jerry’s Girls” was subsequently produced and continues to be produced, in the United States and all over the world, particularly in Australia, where it set box-office records. Among the actresses who performed in the review were Carol Channing, Dorothy Loudon, Andrea McArdle, Chita Rivera and Leslie Uggams. Larry also directed productions for Holland America Cruise Lines and numerous corporations, including American Express, Fuji, IBM and Mobil.

            While living in New York, he did a great deal of charitable work. He was involved in benefits for AMFAR with Elizabeth Taylor and for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation with Mary Tyler Moore.

            In the late ‘90s, he began dividing his time between New York and Marianna before permanently settling in Marianna, where he cultivated his passion for folk art. He was famous for his whimsical and unusual painted wooden fish.

            Larry was an exuberant, spirited presence who livened up every room into which he walked. Always a director, he made life a performance. He will be sorely missed.

            Survivors include his sister, Diane Alford Mitchell (and husband Jim) of Quincy; two nephews, Mark Mitchell of Gainesville and Graham Mitchell of Quincy; a great-niece and -nephew.

            Larry was preceded in death by his mother and father. During the last years of his mother’s life he was a loving and dedicated caregiver.

 

In another article:

 

JACKSON COUNTY FLORIDAN

Marianna, Jackson Co., FL—Wednesday, 19 April 2006

 

            Larry Alford, a native of Marianna, Fla., died on March 31, 2006, after a brief illness. He was 59.

            Born Feb. 22, 1947, to Ruth Whiddon Alford and Joseph Lawrence Alford, Larry graduated from Marianna High School, then when on to earn an AA degree from Chipola College, a BA from the University of West Florida and an MFA in theater from Florida State University. From 1969 to 1976, he taught at Chipola Junior College, where he directed 27 theater productions. The first was Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” in November of 1969. The last was “Guys and Dolls” in March of 1976.

            Among the many actors he brought to Marianna were W.C. “Mutt” Burton, Ann B. Davis, Robert Horton, Ken Howard and Peter Palmer. While at Chipola, he also led annual theater trips to New York. He had a profound influence on his students, some of whom went on to have careers in film, television and theater.

            Larry moved to New York in 1976, where he pursued an active career in the theater. Before his big break, he was a contestant on such game shows as “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “Jackpot.” In 1985 he directed the Tony-nominated “Jerry’s Girls,” a celebration of the music and lyrics of Jerry Herman. “Jerry’s Girls” was subsequently produced and continues to be produced in the United States and all over the world, in particular Australia, where it set box office records. Among the actresses who performed in the review were Carol Channing, Dorothy Loudon, Andrea McArdle, Chita Rivera and Leslie Uggams. Larry also directed productions for Holland America Cruise Lines and numerous corporations including American Express, Fuji, IBM and Mobil.

            While living in New York he did a great deal of charitable work. He was involved in benefits of AMFAR with Elizabeth Taylor and for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation with Mary Tyler Moore.

            In the late 90’s, he began dividing his time between New York and Marianna before permanently settling in Marianna, where he cultivated his passion for folk art. He was famous for his whimsical and unusual painted wooden fish.

            Larry was preceded in death by his mother and father. During the last years of his mother’s life he was a loving and dedicated caregiver.

            He is survived by his sister, Diane Alford Mitchell and husband Jim of Quincy; nephews, Mark Mitchell of Gainesville and Graham Mitchell of Quincy; and a great-niece and nephew.

            Larry was an exuberant, spirited presence who livened up every room into which he walked. Always a director, he made life a performance. He will be sorely missed.

            A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, April 22, at Chipola College Auditorium. Entombment will be at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens, with James and Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel in charge of arrangements.

            In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Larry Alford Memorial Scholarship College Foundation, 3094 Indian Circle Rd., Marianna, Fla., 32446.

 

AAFA NOTES: SSDI records confirm the birth and death dates of Joseph L. Alford (SS# issued in FL), last residence not listed.

            Larry joined AAFA after responding to letters sent out by AAFA promoting the 1994 Richmond, VA meeting. In addition to the information in the obituary, we know that Larry’s company API - Alford Productions Inc., based on publicity circa 1995:

 

            . . . has over twenty years of prestigious producing and directing credits, including productions starring Peter Allen, Susan Anton, Gene Barry, Gloria Estefan, Roberta Flack, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joel Grey, Marvin Hamilsch, Ken Howard, Raul Julia, Hal Linden, Mary Martin, Marlee Matlin, Dina Merrill, Mary Tyler Moore, Rita Moreno, Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Taylor, Ben Vereen, Barbara Walters, Jo Anne Worley, and Tommy Tune.

            He has directed and/or created a variety of industrials and special events for numerous national and international companies, including, American Express, Georgia-Pacific, Glaxo Pharmaceuticals, Gulf Life, IBM, Mobil Oil, New York Live, Oldsmobile, Olsten, Philip Morris International, Proctor & Gamble, Shearson Lehman, Time Inc. and Trane Corporation.

            Galas created and produced by Alford Productions Inc. include “Elizabeth Taylor & Friends,” “American Express Salutes Liberty,” “David Merrick’s Lullabies of Broadway,” “Say it With Music: Songs of Irving Berlin,” and “The American Dental Association Presents I Hear America Singing.

            Larry’s theatre credits include “Look Homeward, Angel,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” “The Odd Couple,” “Our Town,” “Oklahoma!,” “The Music Man,” “Guys & Dolls,” “1776,” “Mame,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Side By Side By Sondheim,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Carousel” and “Godspell.”

 

            His lineage: Joseph Lawrence 1947 FL1, Joseph Lawrence 1918 FL2, Joseph Columbus 1871 FL3, James Columbus 1830 GA4, John Turner 1800 NC, 5 Job about 1763 NC6, Julius 1717 VA, James 1687 VA7.