Retired Army Major Winfred Bryan Alexander, who died March 8 at age 56, was a three-time All-American track star at the University of Florida, where he was the first African American to command UF's Army Corp of Cadets, according to the obituary in the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat.
Alexander, known to many as “Wimpy,” attained two Master's degrees, taught ROTC at Alcorn University and JROTC at Jefferson County High School.
It’s no surprise that he also was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans. Its members, who traditionally have been leaders in the African American community and champions for civil rights, include such historic figures as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall and Andrew Young.
Alpha Phi Alpha members, who died in the last few weeks, include:
Dr. Thurman Clemons, M.D., was the second African American doctor to serve the residents of Bulloch and neighboring counties, according to the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald. His list of achievements and contributions to the medical community and local youth is impressive.
Bishop Richard Allen Chappelle Sr., was the 108th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and an educator in Broward County schools for 14 years, according to the obituary in the Orlando Sentinel.
Leon A. Woods Jr., was the first African-American chemist hired by the California Dept. of Fish and Game and the first African American to play in the NCAA National Tennis Championships, according to the obit in the Sacramento Bee. The obit also said that Wood successfully integrated a number of tennis clubs in the Sacramento community and retired from the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control as a Sr. Industrial Hygienist in 1987.***
This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.