VERO BEACH — Alma Lee Loy, a longtime community activist and philanthropist known as the First Lady of Vero Beach, died Friday, police said.
She was 90 years old, Vero Beach police spokesman Master Officer Darrell Rivers said. Vero Beach Vice Mayor Laura Moss said Loy had been in declining health.
Further details on Loy’s death were not available. Rivers described Loy as a pillar to the community.
“Everybody respected her,” Rivers said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to her family.”
Several tributes poured in on social media to remember Loy’s legacy.
In a Twitter post, the Gifford Youth Achievement Center described Loy as a “warrior for the community.”
As we mourn the loss of Alma Lee Loy, we remember fondly what a warrior she was for our community. She dedicated her life to serving Indian River County and was a great advocate for the Gifford Youth Achievement Center. We will be forever grateful for her contributions. pic.twitter.com/EFKz7bExIo
— GYAC (@GYACINC) April 10, 2020
“She dedicated her life to serving Indian River County and was a great advocate for the Gifford Youth Achievement Center,” the youth center said in the post. “We will be forever grateful to her contributions.”
Several people left comments to Loy on Facebook.
“What a horrible loss for our community,” one Facebook user wrote. “She was such a wonderful lady. May she rest in peace.”
Loy leaves behind several accomplishments spanning back several decades within Vero Beach. Loy was part of the founding committee for Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary, Vero Beach Mayor Tony Young said.
“As the island took shape, she was dedicated to it from the very start,” Young said. “She’s been part of everything. She’s irreplaceable. Everyone calls her the First Lady of Vero Beach for a reason.”
Moss said she is thankful to have recently worked with Loy on the steering committee for the power plant site.
“At the age of 90, she was actively engaged in the future of the community,” Moss said. “She was an inspiration and wonderful example of what women can achieve.”
Loy was also on the hospital board for Indian River Memorial, now known as Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. Loy was on the board for Mckee Botanical Garden and a member of the Vero Beach Country Club.
Young said Loy was the first woman to serve on the board of county commissioners and was also the first woman chair. Loy served as a commissioner from 1968 to 1980, Moss said.
“She was the first lady in local politics,” Moss said. “She was powerful in her own right.”
Loy was also a member of First Baptist Church of Vero Beach, where she and other parishioners served meals to the homeless on Wednesdays.
In 2010, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce building was renamed in honor of Loy. In 2012, the 17th Street Bridge was renamed in Loy’s namesake for her dedication to the community.
Last October, Loy served as the Grand Marshal for Vero’s Centennial Parade. Young said Loy was not focused on being influential, but rather on helping others.
“She was a role model for people,” Young said. “She had this special ability to connect to people. She made every person she met feel extra special.”