Obituary: Alvin B. Kingsley / Executive, merchandise manager for Kaufmann's
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When Alvin Kingsley retired from Kaufmann's in 1993, company officials thought so much of him that they hung a poster with his picture on it at the corner of Grant Street and Boulevard of the Allies, thanking him for his 35 years of service.
The man who had worked his way up from the company's management training program in 1958 left as the senior vice president and general merchandise manager.
He and his wife, Myrna, retired to Boca Raton, Fla., where they spent the next 15 years traveling, learning and enjoying life.
Mr. Kingsley died of heart failure Friday at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 72.
Mr. Kingsley, who played the violin in the senior orchestra at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School and as a student with the Pittsburgh Symphony, originally planned to attend Carnegie Institute of Technology for music.
But, Mrs. Kingsley said, so many musicians at the time were unemployed that he decided to attend the University of Pittsburgh for business instead.
After graduaton, he joined Kaufmann's management training program. Mr. Kingsley, who was known as an immaculate dresser, worked his way up from assistant buyer to merchandise manager.
"He enjoyed the authority and responsibility and working with people," Mrs. Kingsley said.
"He loved fashion. Everything had to be perfect. The tie had to match the handkerchief."
Jeff Brown, who worked with Mr. Kingsley at Kauffman's for nearly 20 years, said he and his colleagues would tease his mentor.
"He probably had one of the largest Ralph Lauren tie collections anyone's ever seen," Mr. Brown said. "He was impeccable."
Indeed, Mrs. Kingsley said her husband enjoyed fine things: fashion, cars and food. He had a watch collection, she said, and his favorite was a Rolex Presidential.
Their son, Joel, said his father's favorite toast was: "To love, health and wealth, and the time to enjoy it and share it."
Mr. Brown, who now lives in Atlanta, described Mr. Kingsley as "one of the classiest guys I ever worked for.
"He had tremendous presence in the industry," he said.
One of the most valuable lessons Mr. Kingsley taught him, Mr. Brown said, was the ability to negotiate. It was just as important -- if not more -- he would say, to listen to what the other person is looking for.
Before moving to Florida to get away from the cold weather in Pittsburgh, the Kingsleys, who were married 50 years, lived in Wilkins and later Fox Chapel.
In retirement, the couple traveled a great deal, taking trips to Europe, Alaska, Australia and New Zealand.
Mr. Kingsley also played tennis and golf. They also took lifelong learning classes in movies and opera.
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Kingsley is survived by a daughter, Jill Weinstein, of Knoxville, Tenn.; and a sister, Shanee Kadosh, of Squirrel Hill.
A funeral service will be held today at noon at Gutterman Warheit Memorial Chapel in Boca Raton, with interment to follow at Eternal Light Memorial Gardens in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Donations can be made to Hadassah or the American Heart Association.
First Published July 27, 2008 12:00 am