VERO BEACH REMEMBERS ITS MOST VOCAL ADVOCATE
Nonagenarian Alma Lee Loy
was a Vero Beach native who
was devoted to her city and its
people. A longtime downtown
businesswoman, she was active
in women’s issues and a leader in
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
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.