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The loss of a 'true gentleman'.

The last time most of you heard from Al Singleton, the immediate past president of AFS, was on this page in the December 1990 issue of modern casting when he talked to you about the events leading up to the AFS/ACMA merger. Sadly, that was the final time you were to have heard from him. Al passed away on January 8 of this year after suffering a stroke on December 19. He was laid to rest on January 10 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Al would have been 65 this month.

Al was a special person and his warmth, encouraging ways and quiet leadership will be truly missed. In the ensuing phone calls and conversations following his death, two expressions were used repeatedly by those who knew and worked with Al: "a real loss" and "a true gentleman."

Al remained a humble and sensitive individual, despite everything he achieved in life and the positions and respect he earned in the worldwide foundry industry as president and chief operating officer of Intermet Corp., chairman of the American Cast Metals Assn. and AFS president. You believed he cared and that he was sincerely interested in what you were doing or trying to do, Maybe that's because nothing was handed to Al. He worked hard for everything he achieved in life, and did it with a wonderful warm dignity.

A foundryman his entire working career which began in 1946, Al started working for Lynchburg Foundry at the age of 20 as an assistant storekeeper. In 1953 he joined the foundry's sales staff, became assistant sales manager in 1963 and was promoted to manager of manufacturing in 1972. Nearly 30 years after beginning his foundry career, Al was named vice president of administration in 1974 and senior vice president in 1975. That was followed by a promotion to executive vice president in 1981 and president in 1983. In 1984, Al was named president and chief operating officer of Interrnet Corp.

In addition to his hectic work schedule that took him around the world on a regular basis, Al somehow found the time and energy to participate in industrywide activities, Besides his active involvement as an AFS director, vice president and president, he was a director of the Cast Metals Institute (1988-91), vice chairman and chairman of ACMA (1988-90). He was also a member of the Ductile Iron Society and American Management Assn. He was awarded ACMA's William J. Grede Award in 1987 for his "longstanding role as a distinguished foundryman and a leader in the cast metals industry." His last major contribution to the industry was overseeing the AFS/ACMA merger.

On a more personal my last memory of Al took place at AFS headquarters just days before he was hospitalized. After finishing an AFS finance committee meeting, he stopped in as usual just to say "Hi." As we spoke about the Guest Editorial he had written in the December issue, he put his hand around my neck and shoulder, and thanked me for publishing it. He said he appreciated everything I had done to help him, which struck me as strange because I really hadn't done very much. But that was Al's way. He sincerely appreciated the little things and would always take the time to let you know.

Another instance that demonstrated the real "class" of Al Singleton occurred a couple of years ago during an AFS regional conference. Speaking to a few hundred people after dinner, he was rudely interrupted halfway through his presentation by someone in the audience who apparently felt it necessary to vent his frustrations at that particular moment. It was an extremely embarrassing situation that would have caused most of us to respond in perhaps a less than positive way. But Al didn't.

For several minutes he stood back at the speaker's podium and let the fellow have his say. He then thanked him for his comments and continued with his speech. Even on the drive to the airport afterward, Al would not offer any disparaging comments about the incident. For me, this placed Al in a class in which I would put few others.

Al Singleton was a class individual, a true gentleman and a real foundryman whose contribution to the industry will be sorely missed. And while I wish that I could have said all of this more eloquently than I have here, I think Al would know what I mean.

David P. Kanicki

COPYRIGHT 1991 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Alvin W. Singleton
Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:editorial
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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