READING, Pa. - Hearts around Berks County and beyond are heavy following the passing of Al Boscov. The chairman of his family-owned department store chain died Friday night. He was 87.
Many who knew Boscov and the impact he has had on the community are reacting to his death.
Boscov's posted on its Facebook page: "We are saddened to announce that our beloved chairman, Albert Boscov, passed away today at the age of 87. We celebrate his amazing life, dedicated to loving his family, serving his customers and employees and making our community a better place to live."
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Twitter:
"Today Frances and I are saddened by the passing of one of Pennsylvania's truly great business icons and philanthropists Al Boscov."
Former Pennsylvania Gov. and the first U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge:
"Al Boscov's story is the story of America. Al was an immigrant's son, who through hard word, an endlessly creative mind and sheer tenacity led his family's retail business to extraordinary success. My personal relationship with Al began during my first campaign for governor in the early 1990s. It didn't take long to learn of Al's passion not just for his business, but for his beloved Reading, Pennsylvania. I was privileged to earn his support and friendship. He cared deeply for his employees and for those less fortunate, giving generously to countless organizations and events. It's hard to imagine Reading without Al Boscov. Michele and I extend our sympathies to the Boscov family, his employees and all who benefited from his philanthropic spirit and zest for life."
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey on Twitter: "Saddened to hear of Al Boscov's passing. He was a terrific leader and community partner. My condolences to his family."
Charles Broad, the executive director of the Reading Downtown Improvement District, said in a statement Monday:
"On behalf of the Reading Downtown Improvement District and our Board of Directors, I would like to express our condolences to the family of Al Boscov, who recently passed away.
"Mr. Boscov left an indelible mark on Reading, and especially on the Improvement District. We are extremely grateful for his efforts to revitalize the city and District through such projects as the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, the GoggleWorks, the GoggleWorks Apartments, the Reading Movies 11, the Santander office building at Fifth and Penn streets, and several other projects that he was either directly or indirectly involved in.
"Mr. Boscov's impact on Reading and the surrounding community will be felt for many, many years to come. We have lost an inspirational, untiring leader who gave his heart and soul to uplifting not only our community, but the lives of thousands of people. He will be greatly missed."
WFMZ's Jaccii Farris, who directed the 2014 documentary Boscov: An American Story, posted the following on Facebook:
"Sad to hear the news of Al Boscov's passing. I spent a year following him around and making the documentary Boscov: An American Story. He had an amazing business sense and an even bigger heart. I told him that he reminded me of my stepfather Julian... A lot of people felt that way about him because he always did what he could to lift people up. His impact on the community and his impact on people will last forever. No doubt, he is in heaven singing little diddies with the angels. Rest In Peace Al... we will all miss you!
Levi Landis, the executive director of the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, posted on Facebook:
"Tonight the GoggleWorks family mourns the loss of our co-founder and visionary Albert Boscov. We extend our warmest comforts to his family, including his extended family at Boscov's and the numerous nonprofits, organizations, and communities he reached with his legendary charm and brilliance. His life is truly an inspiration and from it the world now has a little more beauty, art, trust, friendship...and candy. Thank you Mr. Boscov!"
The Reading Royals, changing their Facebook profile photo to a photo of their mascot shedding a tear, stated:
"Tonight we say goodbye to a Reading legend. Mr. Boscov, you gave this city so much pride with the continued love you provided. Thanks for believing in us and being a driving force in the creation of the great arena we play in! You will be SORELY missed. We will try to pick up the torch and carry it forward in your honor. Our hope is to be a part of something you'd be proud of. We love you and we will miss you."
The Reading Fightin Phils tweeted: "Very sad to hear. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Boscov family!"
Craig Poole, a close friend who was hired by Boscov to serve as general manager of the new DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Reading, said:
"This evening I had the honor to visit with Mr Boscov, kiss his head, touch his hand and to thank him for all of us. He was surrounded by his family, at peace and not feeling the pain.
Mr. Boscov is loved by so many people and his legacy will live forever. We will carry his torch and continue his great works. This is what he would want from each one of us."
Pennsylvania Sen. Judy Schwank, a Berks County Democrat, tweeted: "Admired, respected and loved by customers and co-workers alike. We will miss you greatly Albert Boscov. May you rest in peace."
Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat who helped lead efforts to erect a statue in Boscov's honor in 2009, said on Twitter: "Very sad to hear my friend Al Boscov passed away tonight from cancer. Reading & all of Pennsylvania lost a GIANT. #RIP #GodSpeed
Mayor Rich David of Binghamton, New York, where Boscov's has long had a store, said in a tweet: "True icon. A friend to the City of Binghamton. One of the kindest and most genuine individuals I've known."
Wilkes-Barre's F.M. Kirby Center, which Boscov strongly supported, stated in a tweet: "Our hearts are heavy. Thank you, Mr. Boscov."
Condolences to the Boscov family may be emailed to email@example.com. Albert’s family greatly appreciates your love and enjoys reading your fond memories.Posted by Boscov's on Saturday, February 11, 2017
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's new map of the state's 18 congressional districts isn't getting a warm reception from some officials in Berks County.Read More »
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