Maine philanthropist and former Dexter Shoe Co. executive Peter Alfond died Monday from malaria contracted during a recent trip to Africa, according to news accounts and his family’s foundation. He was 65.
A scion of one of Maine’s best-known families, Alfond contracted the disease while traveling with family, the Morning Sentinel reported.
Alfond for many years supported educational and healthcare causes through the Peter Alfond Foundation — including the donation of $4 million to MaineGeneral Medical Center to establish the Healthy Living Resource Center, which encourages healthier eating and exercise.
“Peter lent his support to work we are doing to combat cancer in Maine,” MaineHealth President Bill Caron said in a statement on Tuesday. “Peter devoted himself to making the lives of Maine people better. While he had a special affinity for the Waterville community, Peter did not limit his vision or his ambitions for the betterment of us all.”
Elected officials mourned his passing.
“While today we are poorer for his loss, we are ultimately stronger for his having been such an extraordinary friend to our state,” U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said in a statement.
“His vision and goodwill for our state have left a rich and lasting legacy,” U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said.
A graduate of Rollins College, Alfond was a senior executive at Dexter Shoe Company, where he was president of PanAm Shoe, the base of Dexter’s Caribbean operations, and served as a director of Dexter Enterprises, Inc. and Wellomics, the foundation said.
He founded the Peter Alfond Foundation in 1994, but his support of charitable causes did not end there. As founder of Kippur Corporation, an investment holding company in Puerto Rico, Alfond oversaw philanthropic initiatives in the Caribbean.
Alfond was also a trustee in the Harold Alfond Foundation.