READING, Pa. --Late department store chairman Albert Boscov was remembered as an energetic businessman, a caring person and a tireless cheerleader for the city he loved.
Hundreds gathered Sunday at a Reading arena to honor Boscov, who died Feb. 10 at age 87, and who was credited with driving the growth of the century-old business established by his father to sales in excess of $1 billion.
"If Al Boscov wanted to get something done, he could move heaven and earth to do so," said management consultant Al Weber.
Former mayor Tom McMahon called him "one of the hardest-working and happiest people I ever knew."
"Someone once remarked that spending an hour with Al Boscov was like being in the spin cycle of a washing machine, except it was fun!" he said.
Democratic state Sen. Judy Schwank asked how anyone could help but smile "when you think of him bouncing into a room, cracking a smile, probably singing."
Current Boscov's CEO Jim Boscov recalled going to trade shows with his uncle, whom he called "a master merchant," and seeing him going from booth to booth, checking out every item.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't ask myself what Albert would do," he said. "I'm very grateful for the time I've had with him but I do miss him terribly."
He and other speakers talked about Boscov's caring and compassionate nature.
"There was no one Granddaddy met he didn't want to talk to, learn from or care about," grandson David Aichenbaum said.
Other speakers celebrated his role as a cheerleader for the city and his good works.
Albert Boscov graduated from Reading High and returned to the family business after Navy service during the Korean War. In 1962, he opened Boscov's first full-service department store. His charitable efforts included founding a nonprofit to help revitalize Reading and aiding foundation of a senior center and Police Athletic League community center. Officials say the chain hosts nonprofit programs that generate over $600,000 a year for various organizations. He continued to work even after he publicly announced his cancer diagnosis nine days before his death.
Former governor Ed Rendell quoted longtime coach John Wooden's remark that "You'll never have a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
Al Boscov, he said, "lived decades and decades of perfect days."