James R. Lloyd Jr., 39, Casey Aide

Posted: August 19, 1989

James R. Lloyd Jr., 39, who was widely recognized as a bright, able force in Pennsylvania government during five years in the state Senate and as Gov.

Casey's special assistant, died Thursday at his home in the city's Mayfair section.

Mr. Lloyd died five months to the day after he underwent surgery for a brain tumor. The tumor had been diagnosed only four days before his surgery, and Mr. Lloyd recently was receiving special treatments for his condition at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

"Jim was loved and respected by all of his colleagues, regardless of party," Casey said in a statement. "He had warmth and good humor, energy and commitment. He was a man of great integrity with genuine compassion for people.

"His death is a blow not only to his family and friends - who are so many - but to his city and his state," Casey said.

Mayor Goode also described his death as a "tremendous loss" and recalled that Mr. Lloyd was a "bright, energetic, committed public servant," both in the legislature and as Casey's liaison for eastern Pennsylvania.

A lifelong resident of Mayfair who rose to prominence as a Northeast community leader and sporting-goods store owner, Mr. Lloyd was first elected to public office at 29, when he won the Fifth Senatorial District seat as an independent-minded Democrat in a special election in March 1979.

His career in government quickly took off. Elected to a full senate term in 1980, he earned a reputation as a hard-working, tenacious legislator and an ardent champion of social welfare issues.

Opposing Gov. Dick Thornburgh's proposed welfare cuts in the early 1980s, Mr. Lloyd devised his own plan to counter Thornburgh's and became a leader in the fight to preserve general assistance.

Perhaps most memorable, Mr. Lloyd two years later co-authored the 1984 plan to subsidize prescription drugs for the elderly through the use of state lottery funds.

"Without Jim, there might not have been paid prescriptions for the elderly in Pennsylvania," said state Rep. Mark B. Cohen (D., Phila.). "He was one of the best legislators of the 1980s. He was courageous, passionate and interested in having government programs work for ordinary people."

Remembered as a lawmaker who didn't confine his interests to his district, Mr. Lloyd played a major role, for example, in the 1980 effort to get Adidas to locate a sports-shoe manufacturing plant in Kutztown, Berks County.

"Jim Lloyd was an outstanding public servant who gave politics a good name

because of the way he served the public," said U.S. Rep. Robert A. Borski (D., Pa.). "He had tremdendous integrity, courtesy, but most of all he was a great listener, and when Jim Lloyd was convinced, he fought - and he fought the right way."

Mr. Lloyd was still a Harrisburg newcomer in 1982 when he decided to tackle the contest for the state's top office - governor. He did so at a time when bigger-name Democrats stayed away from a race in which Gov. Thornburgh was deemed unbeatable.

Mr. Lloyd withdrew from the contest only at its end, when it became clear that Allen Ertel would be endorsed by the Democratic State Committee. He then became Ertel's candidate for lieutenant governor. The duo lost to Thornburgh and running mate William W. Scranton 3d by a margin much narrower than anticipated.

"He was one of the most thoroughly decent people in Pennsylvania politics and in politics anywhere," said Neil Oxman, a political consultant who worked with Mr. Lloyd in 1980 and 1984. "He just had a tremendous sense of integrity. . . . It's a shame there aren't more people like him in public life."

A 1967 graduate of Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, Mr. Lloyd began work at Sixsmith Sporting Goods in the Northeast the day he started

college at St. Joseph's University. After graduating in 1971, he stayed at the business and a year later bought it from its owner, Al Sixsmith, who retired.

As he increased sales at the store from $240,000 to $1.5 million in seven years' time - boosting the number of employees from three to 26 - Mr. Lloyd also brought his vigor to the Optimists Club of Mayfair, the Northeast Chamber of Commerce and the Mayfair Merchants Association.

Not a Democratic insider, he was elected in 1979 with solid community support.

"When he was first elected to office, he was elected as someone who was outside of the system, and that was pretty rare in Philadelphia politics," said Robert S. Barnett, deputy secretary of labor and industry. "It enabled Jim to be very independent and tackle things like ethics in government and campaign financial reform, things that other people within the system wouldn't have done. I think he set a really high tone."

In the Northeast, Mr. Lloyd was remembered by many as accessible and interested.

"I never called him without his responding to me, no matter how busy he was or anything else, and we were just a small, struggling agency," said Sister M. Charity Kohl, administrator for CORA, a children's and family service agency.

Two years after his district was reapportioned, Mr. Lloyd lost his 1984 bid for re-election to Republican Frank A. Salvatore. He returned to the sporting- goods business as president of the Lloyd Athletic Co., a supplier and distributor of sporting goods.

It was 1987 when he joined Gov. Casey's cabinet as special assistant overseeing issues in eastern Pennsylvania. In that post, he worked as Casey's agent on issues ranging from the restructuring of the Port of Philadelphia to the convention center plan. He also advised the governor on political matters.

"It was the kind of position where you have to take your political savvy and combine it with a lot of good sense and still have people walk away liking you and the governor," said Barnett. "It was a very difficult feat."

By many accounts, it was a goal achieved.

"Personally he was a warm, friendly, very decent man, and he put everything he had into being the best senator possible and in the last couple of years, being the best assistant possible to Gov. Casey," said Cohen.

"One thing I remember best about Jim Lloyd was the saying he lived his life by. He said, 'Always take the high road,' " said Borski. "And Jim Lloyd always did."

Among the numerous civic, business and government organizations he served were the boards of the Delaware River Port Authority, the Benjamin Franklin Partnership and the Fairmount Park Commission.

Surviving are his wife of 18 years, Victoria Dombrowski Lloyd; sons, James R. 3d, 16, and John P., 14; his parents, Peg and Jim Lloyd; three brothers, and two sisters.

There will be a viewing from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Fluehr's Funeral Home, 3301 Cottman Ave. A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church, 8100 Colfax St. Burial is in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham Township.

Contributions in Mr. Lloyd's memory may be made to the University of Pennsylvania Hospice Program, Gates Building, 3400 Spruce St., 10th Floor, Philadelphia, 19104.

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