By Janet Bagley
Visitors to the First Baptist Church of Vero Beach could be certain of one thing – a personalized welcome from someone who had been a member of the congregation since 1936 – Alma Lee Loy.
Alma Lee died on Good Friday, April 11, at the age of 90. It was her ability to connect with other people that Senior Pastor Rev. Joe LaGuardia said made her beloved throughout the congregation, as well as the entire community.
“She was an ambassador for us,” said LaGuardia. “When a new member of our congregation would come to services, she was the one standing in the sanctuary ready to welcome them.”
LaGuardia said Alma Lee was a humble person who was driven by her faith. “It was the foundation of everything she did,” said LaGuardia. “I don’t think she ever had a bad word to say about anyone, and her integrity was obvious to everyone she came in contact with.”
And those contacts were many. Alma Lee served as a county commissioner, a trustee of the Indian River County Hospital District, and a member of the Indian River Medical Center Board of Directors. She led the fight for beaches and parks; for land conservation; for the lagoon; for veterans’ causes; the arts; the environment; and for every cause she championed. If she was in the room, you knew this was something she believed in, and you should too.
Alma Lee’s honesty, integrity, and generosity served as a model for hundreds of people in the community. She was passionate about the betterment of the Vero Beach and Indian River County community, and her words of wisdom made a huge difference in community outcomes. The lives of everyone in Indian River County are touched in some way because of her years of community involvement and determination.
One day, I asked Alma Lee if she could live her life over, would there be anything she would do differently, and she was quick to respond. “I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said. “It has been the most wonderful experience anyone could ever have.” A song made popular by Tim McGraw is called “Humble and Kind” and those two words best sum up the life and legacy of Alma Lee Loy. She was the person we should all strive to be, and I am proud to have considered her my friend.
“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you, when you get where you’re going, don’t forget to turn back. Help the next one in line; always stay humble and kind.
“Hold the door, say please, say thank you. Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie. I know you got mountains to climb, but always stay humble and kind.”