Albert F. Paschall Jr., retired Montco Chamber of Commerce head

Albert F. Paschall Jr.
Albert F. Paschall Jr.
Posted: June 02, 2012

Albert F. Paschall Jr., 58, retired president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, died of pneumonia Monday, May 28, at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Melbourne, Fla.

Mr. Paschall retired June 30, 2011, after 25 years as booster and advocate for the chamber and its member businesses. He used the writing and speaking skills he learned early on as a newspaperman to bolster his various causes.

Although he told family and friends he did not want to be remembered as the man who moved the King of Prussia Inn, Mr. Paschall was the force behind that complicated project. In 2000, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wanted to expand Route 202 near the King of Prussia mall, and the vacant Revolutionary War-era tavern stood in the way.

Mr. Paschall cut through layers of red tape and figured out the logistics, and on Aug. 20, 2000, TV viewers all over the Philadelphia area held their breath as the building, carried on a special platform with soap on its wheels, inched along Gulph Road a half-mile to its new home on Bill Smith Boulevard. There it became offices for the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce.

Paul Decker, president of the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the inn project brought out the best in Mr. Paschall.

"It certainly wasn’t George Washington’s headquarters, but it was worth saving, so Al single-handedly took on the world and started chopping away at the details," Decker said. "He enlisted the aid of some pretty strong people. That was his talent; he created the issue as needing to be accomplished. And he got it done."

Born and raised in Bridgeport, Mr. Paschall was one of the borough’s first Eagle Scouts, said his sister, Lisa Jack. He trained at night school in Philadelphia as a journalist and went to work for the Norristown Times Herald and King of Prussia Today’s Post. For a time, he ran the papers’ King of Prussia office, said his wife, Dianne Ryan-Paschall.

Mr. Paschall founded the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce and was its president from 1989 until the merger in 2006 of several local chambers into the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. He led that organization through several economic downturns, Decker said.

"Those were the times when it gets very challenging. A membership fee is the easiest thing for people to disregard when it shows up in the mail," Decker said.

Mr. Paschall also cofounded the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, a conservative think tank he and a friend sketched out on a napkin at a Chester County diner in 1992, his wife said.

In 1995, the Lincoln Institute debuted a half-hour public affairs radio program, the Lincoln Radio Journal, with Mr. Paschall as its commentator. It grew from a monthly radio program airing on six radio stations into a weekly broadcast on 81 stations throughout Pennsylvania.

Mr. Paschall’s commentaries, titled "We the People," "The Circle Game," and "Somedays," were written in a style that was at times humorous, biting, and educational. Collected into a book, I Haven’t Found Laura Yet, the commentaries sold briskly in the King of Prussia area, his sister said.

Mr. Paschall had been married to Patricia Keily, with whom he had two sons, Calvin J. and Graham M. The family lived in Bridgeport and Norristown. Divorced in 2000, Mr. Paschall married Ryan-Paschall, former publisher of Main Line Media News, in 2006. The couple settled in West Chester before retiring to Florida last year.

Ryan-Paschall said the thing she liked most about her husband was that he was a man of his word.

"If he went to the store and said he’d be back at 3, he was back at 3," she said.

In addition to his wife, ex-wife, and sons, Mr. Paschall is survived by his mother, Marie T.; a grandson; and a nephew and niece.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 502 Ford St., Bridgeport. Visitation is from 9 to 10:45 a.m. at the church. Interment will be private.

Memorial donations can be made to the Montgomery County Chamber Foundation, Box 200, Eagleville, Pa. 19408. The foundation benefits firefighters and education.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "MontCo Memo," at www.philly.com.

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