Samuel C. Alexander, 91, inspector; carpenter

Posted: March 03, 2013

Samuel C. Alexander, 91, of Darby Township, a retired building inspector and ship's carpenter who was active in his community and church, died Sunday, Feb. 24, at an assisted living facility in Southfield, Mich.

He had been in Michigan since 2011 to be close to a daughter and a son who live there.

Mr. Alexander was a building inspector for 27 years in Darby Township. He inspected residential and commercial buildings, churches, and other structures, retiring in 1992.

For part of that time, Mr. Alexander, a Navy veteran, also worked as a shipwright (ship's carpenter) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for 37 years until his retirement in 1979.

"He was very active in his community," said his daughter Dorcas Knox. "He helped people get grants to improve their homes. He worked on many community issues."

Mr. Alexander was born July 13, 1921, in Philadelphia, the youngest of eight children of Charles and Edith Alexander.

He attended Darby Township schools and graduated from vocational schools in Philadelphia and Hawaii.

During World War II, Mr. Alexander joined the Pearl Harbor rebuilding program, working on ships and buildings damaged in the 1941 attack. He later joined the Navy, serving for two years in Norfolk, Va.

In 1943, he married Amy Whitehead. The couple had four children.

Mr. Alexander was a member of First African Baptist Church of Darby Township for more than 80 years. He was a church trustee for more than 50 years.

"He was very involved in his community, and he was very involved in his church," said his daughter. "He loved Darby Township."

Mr. Alexander was a talented carpenter who did many remodeling projects at his home and those of others. He built furniture in his spare time, his daughter said.

He enjoyed vegetable gardening, she said. "He was known for his tomatoes and his collard greens."

Mr. Alexander closely followed politics in the township. "He focused on schools and making sure we had good roads and homes in the community. He was making sure the community thrived," his daughter said.

He knew the township officials and "kept their feet to the fire," his daughter said.

Mr. Alexander, a Mason, was a past master of the Rose of Sharon Lodge No. 39. He was a former scoutmaster, a member of the American Legion, and an organizer of the Darby Township Bicentennial Committee.

"He helped bring businesses into the community," his daughter said. "He was interested in seeing the community grow and progress."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Alexander is survived by another daughter, Lois Norman; a son, Leslie; nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and a sister. He was preceded in death by a son, Samuel.

Family visitation will be from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, at First African Baptist Church, 901 Clifton Ave., Darby. A Masonic service will follow at 9:30, with the funeral at 10. Interment will be in Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill.

Donations may be made to the B.W. Watkins Scholarship Fund at the church.

Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or

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