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Squirrel Hill businessman freely shared market acumen |

Squirrel Hill businessman freely shared market acumen

| Saturday, May 1, 2010 12:00 a.m

Alexander Speyer was a sharp and prudent investor whose 52-year membership in the New York Stock Exchange benefited numerous nonprofit organizations.

Among them, said his son, James Speyer of Washington, were Carnegie Mellon University, the Pennsylvania School for the Blind and the Young Men and Women’s Hebrew Association.

Alexander C. Speyer Jr. of Squirrel Hill, founder and former president of the North Star Coal Co. in West Mifflin, died on Thursday, April 29, 2010, in West Penn Hospital, Bloomfield. He was 94.

James Speyer said his father “gave us four principles to live by — love of family, the outdoors, the stock market and his work ethic.”

James A. Fisher, retired senior vice president of Fisher Scientific Co., said Mr. Speyer was the trusted patriarch of his family.

“Alex’s entire family entrusted their finances to him,” said Fisher. “And Alex would hold family business meetings several times a year where he would explain the status of their finances.”

Born and raised in Squirrel Hill, Mr. Speyer was the son of businessman Alexander C. Speyer and his wife, Tillie Sunstein, a sculptress and painter.

Mr. Speyer was a 1931 graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill and a member of the golf team there. He enrolled at Carnegie Institute of Technology — now Carnegie Mellon University — and received a degree in mining engineering in 1935.

He continued his commitment to CMU throughout his life and served the school as an emeritus life trustee.

Mr. Speyer’s professional resume included a career as a mining and mechanical engineer.

In 1941, Mr. Speyer married Jean Levison, a resident of McDonald. She died in 1977.

His son, Tom Speyer of Montana, recalled the influence his father had on him and his siblings: Alex, James, Earl, Tim and Debora.

“Dad passed down to us his priorities of stewardship and of getting things done through action and not words.”

Attorney Edwin J. Strassburger of Squirrel Hill praised Mr. Speyer’s work in the stock market. “Alex was the kind of investor who carefully scrutinized every investment he made for himself or recommended to others.

“He was the kind of investor who would go to the site of a recommended investment. Alex inherited his sense of service and prudent decision-making from his father and his forefathers.

“And this is one of the reasons that four generations of Strassburger attorneys have represented and continue to represent five generations of Speyers.”

Strassburger said Mr. Speyer was reserved in his business and philanthropic commitments, but had a big heart and was willing to reach out to anyone who needed a helping hand.

In addition to his sons James and Tom and friend Rita Gould, Mr. Speyer is survived by his daughter, Debora Speyer of Montana; sons, Alexander III of Squirrel Hill, Timothy of Montana, and Earl of Brentwood; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Nora Speyer of New York City and Darthea Speyer of Washington.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday in Rodef Shalom Temple, Oakland, with visitation one hour prior to the service.

Entombment will be in West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation.

Arrangements are being handled by Schugar Chapel, Shadyside.

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