Al’s Column, a staple in the magazine since its inception, is written in this issue by Mike Blick, his partner of 211⁄2 years,
It is with extreme sadness that I say goodbye to my partner of 21-plus years within this issue of Floor Covering News.
Al founded this publication in 1986 after leaving Floor Covering Weekly at the age of 65. It took a lot of courage to start over at that age. A little more than two years after launching FCNews, his oldest son passed away, sapping Al’s zest and zeal, understandably so. I soon joined him and as a team we proceeded to build this company.
His drive to succeed and “beat” the competition was one of his strongest assets. His strength came from being wounded in and surviving World War II. Anyone who mentioned the service, especially the paratroopers, had better have a bunch of time to listen to Al’s war stories. All those tales were rich and intriguing, and Al was a great storyteller.
Having served in the war, he and I would often discuss what fear meant. Fear was sitting in a foxhole, freezing, wondering if he would survive both the cold and the enemy. That was fear. On the other hand, Al could never understand the fear certain companies felt toward denying business to competing magazines.
Al had many loves in his life: 1. Family 2. Floor Covering News 3. Armed Services
4. Floor Covering Industry Foundation.
He dedicated his life to making sure his wife and sons had everything a father could provide. Not only material items but more important were the intangibles: Love, comfort, emotional support and a truly compassionate heart. These same characteristics spread further down the family tree when two grandchildren arrived. He was the protector for his entire family.
Floor Covering News was his baby. He financially nurtured it in the beginning, traveled for it, slaved over it, making it the most perfect publication in the industry. The late hours he put in were unsurpassed. All for the goal of being the best we could be.
Serving in the Armed Forces as a paratrooper was a memory that would not fade with the years. His purple hearts are only a token of what he gave for his country. He continued to have lunch with his only surviving war buddy, Pasquale, on a regular basis. He looked forward to those lunches with a smile that wouldn’t stop. I’m sure the war stories they
shared were not only interesting but spine chilling.
The Floor Covering Industry Foundation was also near the top of his list. He helped found that organization because his charitable nature dictated that we needed to help anyone catastrophically ill, especially those who worked in our industry.
Al devoted most of his entire work life, over 55 years, to this industry, and the industry responded by supporting him. I will miss my friend and partner, but he will not be forgotten—neither by me nor the industry he served.
He may have lost this recent battle for life but he won the war of respect and love of his family and friends for a lifetime.
Rest in peace, Al. You’ve earned it.