ALSTON, Harold F. Passed away on August 26, 2016 at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, CT with family by his side. He will be remembered as a passionate, personable man who made the most of his 84 years. Born in Winchester, MA on December 24, 1931, son of Harold C. and Valarie (Gaunce) Alston of Springfield, MA. Harold attended Springfield public schools and graduated Commerce High School in 1949, where he met his future wife, Irene S. (Mietka) Alston-they married in 1953. Harold served in the United States Armed Forces during the Korean War-honorably discharged in 1961. Harold found his niche early. His father put him to work at a young age, bagging groceries and stocking shelves at the neighborhood Stop & Shop where he worked as a manager, mostly in an attempt to keep him out of trouble. The experience he gained at that small grocery store primed him for the rest of his career. Upon graduating from American International College, and a short stint at National Biscuit, as a "cookie bookie", Harold entered the Stop & Shop Company as a member of their management training program, at a time when the company was still just a handful of small stores across New England. Harold was driven to be the best, and over the next few decades ascended through the ranks of Stop & Shop management, helping grow the company into what it is today, and revolutionizing the food market sector and perishable industry along the way. At his retirement in 1996, he held the title of Senior Vice President of Perishables. During Harold's career he sat on many boards, most notably the PMA (Produce Marketing Association). He was Chairman of the 1989 and 1991 PMA conventions-an honor bestowed on the industry's most prestigious leaders. He also served as the chairman of the PMA's Nutritional Marketing Task Force and Retail Division. In 1989 Alston received the Packer Produce Marketer of the Year Award for his efforts in making special contributions to forwarding the collective interests of produce marketers throughout the industry. He also had been substantively involved in the planning and design of what was to become the Stop & Shop ?superstore' in the 1980s. Harold was known within the food retail industry as an innovator. He brought scanners to checkout lines in 1979 and was considered the pioneer of bringing tree-ripened fruit to New England by flying fresh fruits to Stop & Shop's warehouses, rather than expose them to long, jostling road trips. He traveled all over the world looking for the best tasting fruits and vegetables to fill Stop & Shop's shelves year round, "I tell my buyers it is always summer somewhere in the world, if we can get it on an airplane, we can get." (Boston Globe October 20, 1993). He had a passion and a drive that took him to the top of his profession. A master of his craft, Harold still had time to lay his roots with his wife, Irene, and build his family. He was a devoted and involved father and grandfather who frequented football and soccer games, recitals and graduations, rarely missing an opportunity to brag about his children's and grandchildren's accomplishments.|
Harold leaves behind a brother Lawrence Alston of Falmouth, MA, his daughter Susan Alston and her husband Thomas Millette of Hampden, his son Harold ?Sonny' Alston, Jr. and his wife Elvira Gomez-Alston of Hampden, and five grandchildren; Angela Alston-Wood of Benson, NC, Nicholas Alston of Boston, MA, Christopher Alston of Austin, TX, Daniel Alston of Miami, FL, Alexis Alston of Hampden, a great grandson, Connor Wood of Benson, NC, a nephew Larry Alston of Natick, MA and niece, Judith Soucy of Merrimack, MA. Harold was predeceased by his wife Irene S. (Mietka) Alston on February 19, 2016, and his son Edward R. Alston on August 16, 2016. Friends and family are invited to celebrate Harold's life on September 6th, from 4-7 pm at Great Horse Country Club, 128 Wilbraham Rd, Hampden, MA 01036 (valet parking). Please express your intent to attend to email@example.com or text 413-531-7614. For those who missed the remembrance memorial for Ed (Harold's son) on August 28th, you are invited to join us for this memorial that will honor both their lives. In lieu of cards, flowers or other memorials, donations may be made in Harold's memory to
- Springfield, 516 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104. Donations in Ed's memory may be made to Goodwill Industries of the Pioneer Valley, 570 Cottage St., Springfield, MA 01104.
View the online memorial for HAROLD F. ALSTON
Published in The Boston Globe on Sept. 1, 2016