With Charlie
Alfred Alk
  • 95 years old
  • Date of birth: Apr 9, 1919
  • Place of birth:
    New York, New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Apr 28, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Clarksville, Indiana, United States
Happy memories from family and friends.

This memorial website was created in memory of our father, Alfred Alk, 95, born on April 9, 1919, passed away on April 28, 2014. It was his wish to pass quietly from this earth without fanfare. In a letter found among his papers written in 2002, he stated:

"As to memorial arrangements, I do feel that my death will undoubtedly be a relief from the ills and discomforts of aging, and from that point of view should be considered as a happy, or at least positive, occasion, rather than a sad one... no formalities should be undertaken.  Family and friends who would like to have some closure should be invited to gather informally, to talk about how they feel, about what they remember, and, above all, to keep from feeling sad about it.  There should be lots to eat and drink, and I hope someone will propose a toast."

Since family and friends are spread far and wide, we are gathering informally online, so pour a glass of wine and toast with us to a remarkable man and a remarkable life.

Please feel free to share photos and/or stories, or just light a candle or leave a message. 

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Ellen Taylor on 2nd May 2015

"It's truly sad to imagine this sorry old world without a light as bright as Alfred to help illuminate it and make it feel better.    But all the happy memories of yours and mine shared here indeed help, and he is forever in my heart."

This tribute was added by Diana Koegel on 2nd May 2015

"Alfred was a kind wonderful person and such an inspiration ... He is truly missed."

This tribute was added by Michael Smith on 21st April 2015

"It's hard to believe that one year has passed since Alfred left us.  Looking at his tribute site stirs up many happy memories of Alfred."

This tribute was added by Barbara Samuelson on 20th April 2015

"Since Alfred's birthday was the day after mine, we we always remembered each other in April and I miss that. He was a unique and special person who is missed by all of us who were fortunate eough to know him."

This tribute was added by Wendell Livingston on 20th October 2014

"We mourn the loss of our dear friend, long-time Rowayton resident, and Rowayton Historical Society volunteer Alfred Alk.  Anyone who knew Alfred knew what a truly special person he was - “brilliant, thoughtful, cultured, kind, gentle, funny, insightful, the list goes on,” opined one close friend. We were delighted when Alfred began volunteering with the RHS in 2008, initially by painstakingly imputing all of the handwritten financial records onto a computer. Next he began transcribing 19th century journals, then old documents and letters, slowly bringing chunks of valuable local history back into focus.  He tackled each project with enthusiasm, humor, and intelligence.  

We looked forward to his weekly visits to pick up his assignments when he would regale us with his latest home projects and tasty items from his kitchen and vegetable garden, along with stories of his early days in Rowayton.  The RHS Oral History Committee was fortunate to interview Alfred, so thankfully many of his entertaining stories have been captured on film.

Alfred, we miss you terribly.

With great fondness, The Rowayton Historical Society Board of Trustees"

This tribute was added by Monica de Crescenzo on 19th August 2014

"Ho conosciuto Al ormai in età avanzata, gli ho voluto molto bene sia a lui che a Cèline. È stato presente al mio matrimonio a new york e ci siamo sempre tenuti in contatto, fino agli ultimi giorni. Sia io che mio marito sentiremo la sua mancanza. Grazie Al di esserci stato amico. Ciao"

This tribute was added by Greg Knowles on 4th June 2014

"Alfred was a wonderful guy.  It was my great privilege to get to know him through his volunteer efforts at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.  He was a joy to work with and we had many interesting conversations as we speculated upon, and learned about, animal behavior, anatomy and physiology.  He was always eager to research a question that came up from a visitor or in conversation with staff or other volunteers.  He was, perhaps, my wife Donna  Schlegel's favorite person on the planet!  In his later years it was fun to have the occasional lunch or dinner together - always such wonderful stories.  He leaves a large gap in our hearts."

This tribute was added by Wendy Robushi on 4th June 2014

"Two lovelier people I never met than your parents Celine and Al. Celine was my Italian teacher at Brien McMahon High School. Later I got to know both of them as good friends of my in laws the Schnabels in Rowayton. David (Schnabel) and I last saw them both about 15 years ago for dinner with a few old Rowayton friends and it was a wonderful evening of catching up and reminiscing. Al and Celine: always gracious, warm, and wonderfully interesting!"

This tribute was added by Michael Smith on 29th May 2014

"I count myself extremely fortunate to have known Alfred for several years, and Celine too before she passed.  I helped him a little with his final canoe project. He was a wonderful friend, always interested in how things were going with me and my late wife Jennifer, who loved her French-speaking visits to the Alk home.  He is sorely missed."

This tribute was added by Beth Kelchner on 20th May 2014

"This was absolutely a beautiful tribute to Alfred. I only talked to Alfred in person 4 times when he came to visit his horse Charlie. however on line we talked (not enough) a lot. I so wish I would have been able to know him better. it sounds like he was a remarkable man. Charlie is still here and doing fine he has his buddies he hangs with out in pasture, he even plays with the yearlings from time to time. i am truly going to miss our little messages back and forth."

This tribute was added by Phiroza Kothavala on 7th May 2014

"My first summer out of college, I met Al and Celine for a "day at the beach" and they were to become family ever since! That was 1978 and every summer, beginning Memorial day and through Labour Day, I took the train up Friday evening and stayed the weekend, every sunny weekend. They were my second set of parents - always interested in everything I did, always willing to give honest advice - We picked raspberries and salad together and ate amazing meals with lots of wine. I could never actually think about summer with the Alks! Our routine in the cooler months was lunches in the City - we usually closed the restaurant because we were talking so much!
When Celine passed away, Al told me he was worried that I wouldn't continue to come up. What!? I was worried that I would be a nuisance!  - So it was with great releif that I continued my summer weekends with Al. The meals may not have been as exotic but the company was still terrific - caring and warm and full of fun and laughter. I always said that if I were to get married again, I would ask him to walk me down the aisle!
Malvina and Chris - I cannot thank you enough for sharing your amazing parents with me and letting me adopt them into my American family. Whenever I eat mussels, drink an Old Fashioned and say "chilantro" instead of cilantro - I think of them with so much love - I fell blessed to have known them and been their friend. I have missed Celine and I will miss Al. My very sincere condolences to you both."

This tribute was added by Ellen Taylor on 6th May 2014

"ps. I forgot to mention how Al taught me to grow raspberries.  How could I forget that?  He gave me my first canes and taught me how to spike them up.  When my daughter was little, she would wander in the rows, carefully sliding a berry off the stalk to eat, as Al showed her.  My canes faced their front steps at 6 Pennoyer.  So many wonderful memories.  Malvina, I love all these pictures of Al you have shared with us.   Thank you.  Ellen"

This tribute was added by Ellen Taylor on 6th May 2014

"I don't even know where to begin to describe how dear Al and Celine both were to me, as my next door neighbors for 27 years in Rowayton.  Like my second parents.   Alfred was wise, interesting (oh so interesting!), caring, and cultured, in all the best ways.  What an interesting life he had and shared with us all.  When I moved from Rowayton almost four years ago, I had Al to our house for dinner a few nights before we were to leave. We sat on our deck and laughed and soaked up all he had to say and were transfixed by his outlook and observations. My daughter Emily had just graduated from college and saw us on the deck and came and sat with us for the duration of Al's visit; she knew what a treasure he was and how much wisdom he had to impart.  Al said what a bittersweet night it was, since it was to be our last dinner together as neighbors, but he smiled as he said it. I can say the hardest part of moving out of Rowayton was losing Al as my neighbor.  On our moving day he and Oliver came over to see us and wish us well.  I cried as our car left the driveway.   We made it a priority to stay in touch with Al after we left, coming down for Christmas dinners at restaurants and he would drive the 50 miles up to Guilford to see our new home and to share a meal.  Once we all drove up to Middletown after lunch to visit the Wesleyan campus.  Al was always up for any adventure or just a good night of conversation.  I cannot imagine the world without him in it, but oh boy, weren't we all so lucky to have had a piece of him for all these years?  What a blessing.  I will always miss him
My sympathy to Malvina and Chris and thank you for sharing your dad with me.    Ellen Taylor (also Emily Smith and Bob O'Neill, too)"

This tribute was added by Debbie D'Ambrosio on 6th May 2014

"Jerry and I toasted Alfred’s memory last evening.  I will not forget his and Celine’s hospitality and generosity on my fist visit to Rowayton.  Alfred picked his wonderful raspberries for my breakfast and made the visit complete by seeing The Cloisters and Tavern on the Green.  I looked forward to my visits with Sharon knowing I would also see the Alks.  I send my sincerest condolences to the family at this time."

This tribute was added by pamela lape on 5th May 2014

"I watched Alfred take his last ride on Charlie. He was always an inspiration to me. If he could still ride at his age, then by gosh, I could too! I cared for Charlie and Alfred at great island for many years. We had lovely walks together on horseback. His delivery of fresh raspberries right off the bushes were always met with thanks and grateful ness by me. I loved our dinners and the garden and stories from places visited so far away... Needless to say, I loved Alfred. He was an extraordinary man in words and actions. I remember when he launched his boat at the beach on great island. What a great guy! I will miss his emails but always remember him with a smile on my face. Here's to Alfred!!!! A life well lived."

This tribute was added by Barbara Samuelson on 5th May 2014

"A tribute to Alfred Alk is a perfect testament to a man who was energetic,creative, outgoing, warm and always fun to be with. When our children were small, he brought a catamaran sailboat to Stockbridge Massachusetts for us to use for the summer.His positive spirit will be missed.

Affectionately,
Barbara Samuleson"

This tribute was added by Diana Koegel on 5th May 2014

"My deepest condolences to Alfred's family.  I feel truly blessed to have met Alfred and that he was part of my life.  He was truly an inspirational person and everyone should have an "Alfred" in their lifetime.  I met Alfred through his horse Charlie and feel very blessed to have had them both in my life.  Alfred was such a positive person filled with wisdom and adventures and he brighten the stable every time he walked in the place on Great Island.  I have so many fond memories of Alfred and I will truly miss him.  With deepest sympathy and a toast to a wonderful man, Diana"

This tribute was added by Lyn Gaylord on 5th May 2014

"What a great tribute to such a special  man who always had something interesting to say along with his wonderful sense of humor. These photos are amazing!! Thanks for sharing them. My condolences go out to his family. Kindest regards, Lyn Gaylord"

This tribute was added by Allison Thomas on 5th May 2014

"Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tribute to an amazing man.  Alfred and Celine both influenced my life greatly with their pure and simple approach to enjoying everything in life to the fullest. Dearly loved and greatly missed."

This tribute was added by Marie Guzman on 4th May 2014

"Felix and I looked at the wonderful pictures of Alfred together.  As we saw the pictures, I shared with Felix some memories I have of Alfred- and I realized how lucky I was to have him in my life.  He was such a loving person- always wanting to share with everyone, whether it be his dinner table, a love of music and wine, or a good story.  He was a great person, and I am so glad he was my grandfather.  He taught me many things, and made me laugh often.  I love Alfred, and while I cry as I write this, it is because I am happy I knew him, and for all the times we shared.  I can't wait to see him again in Heaven, and share another laugh."

This tribute was added by Benita Alk LUBIC on 4th May 2014

"MALVINA, CRAIG AND ALK FAMILY.  Alfred lived a beautiful life, and enjoyed maintaining contacts with the Alk family and visiting with us when possible, including Sarah and Lazarus in Green Bay, his aunt and uncle, who had 9 children. I am the granddaughter of Sarah and Lazarus (9 grandchildren.)  Only  a few still carry the ALK name as only a few boys.   Alfred helped Barbara Meyers and me to  build the family tree.  Alfred and Celine visited in Washington, DC, a few years ago and we enjoyed a family dinner (4 families in DC area).  He loved to travel and was very active.  We should all live to 95 and have the wonderful memories which Alfred enjoyed."

This tribute was added by Barbara Meyers on 4th May 2014

"What a wonderful tribute to Alfred's life.  Although I never had the opportunity to speak with, nor meet Alfred, it was a pleasure to exchange emails with him, ah, the wonders of the Internet bringing family together!  
Alfred and my Mom were 2nd cousins.  Alfred's grandfather, Samuel, and my Mom's grandfather, Schapsel, were brothers.  Both were sons of Beniamin Alk who I believe lived in Krynki/Krinik.  
What great memories you all have to share!
Fondly,
Barbara Meyers"


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This memorial is administered by:

Chris Alk
Malvina Craig

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