Vero Beach remembers its most vocal advocate
BY CHRISTINA TASCON
Alma Lee Loy, known as the First Lady of Vero Beach because of her standing as a community advocate, died peacefully on April 10. A native Floridian, she was born June 10, 1929, in Vero Beach.
Loy, who co-owned Alma Lee’s Children’s Clothing Center for 42 years, will be fondly remembered for her commitment to Vero Beach projects and love of people equally.
“Honesty was an asset she learned from her parents; they were very positive people,” lifelong friend Harry Hurst recalled. “Even when she was a teenager, she always made every person feel like the most important person. She did that her whole life.”
Loy was very vocal when touting Vero Beach’s beauty and its friendly people. She was honest and knew how to reach every person or how to find them. Her reputation was so genuine that it guaranteed an organization, person or project legitimacy and a voice.
Loy broke women’s barriers constantly. She was appointed to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and the Florida Association of Women’s Safety Leaders; spoke on women’s voting rights; was the first woman elected to the Indian River County Commission and served as its chairman and was a member of the Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce.
After being chosen Vero Beach Centennial Parade’s grand marshal, Loy talked about the honor on Cindy Goetz’s radio show, Beauty and the Beach.
“You just have to be born here and live here a lo-o-ong time,” Loy said laughing.
Although having the Alma L. Loy Bridge and the Chamber of Commerce named in her honor, Loy admitted her favorite memory was carrying the torch on U.S. 1 in Vero Beach on its way to Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics.
She was also honored with the Dan K. Richardson Award as Entrepreneur of the Year by Indian River State College in 2007.
Christine Hobart, executive director of McKee’s Botanical Gardens, considered Loy a friend and the garden’s most ardent advocate as a gatekeeper.
“She was one of the first ones to support restoring the Jungle Gardens and she loved the present construction of the Children’s Garden,” Hobart said.
Born to Viola and George Loy, she had two siblings, Gwendolyn Loy and George Loy Jr., both deceased. She left behind many friends and beloved family members, including her church family at First Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to First Baptist Church or McKee Botanical Gardens.