Showbiz, entrepreneurial legend Al Stiles crosses over 91

| January 12, 2014

FORT WAYNE—Renowned entertainer, business leader and activist Albert “Al” Bernard Stiles, 91, passed away on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, in Carmel, Ind.

Born Aug. 13, 1922, in Florence, S.C., Al was a United States Army veteran. In 1971, he opened Al Stiles World’s Best Shoe Shine, which  was open for more than 30 years. In the 1980s, he started a program called the Talent Factory, teaching inner city youth the theater arts. Al was an accomplished tap dancer and performed with such stars as Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr. and played in such venues as

Al Stiles

Al Stiles

the Cotton Club and the Blue Note.

In recent years, the famed Apollo Theater honored the contributions of Al by declaring him a “living legend.”

Surviving are his two sons, Dr. Reginald B. (Delois) Stiles and Ronald B. (Mary Ann) Stiles; and brother, William George Stiles. He was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine Stiles; and two sisters, Christine Kinsey and Kathryn Stiles.

Services were Jan. 11 at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1331 Gay St., where the Rev. Sam Shade is senior pastor. Pastor James Morehead of Pasadena Height Church of God, Indianapolis officiated. Burial was in Lindenwood Cemetery. Arrangements were by Ellis Funeral Home.

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If you would like to make a charitable contribution to help the family continue his legacy, please send donations to: Rhonda Chin PO Box 723, Carmel, IN 46082.

Click here to read the earlier Frost Illustrated story “Legend, Al Stiles crosses over,” including a poetic tribute by Omowale-Ketu Oladuwa

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Category: Entertainment, Local, Obituaries

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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