Author: Carol

Kurtis Alexander Jr., Los Angeles’s only black administrator, dies at age 84

Kurtis Alexander Jr., Los Angeles’s only black administrator, dies at age 84

Sheila Kuehl, retiring at 81, is honored at her final Board of Supervisors meeting. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Kurtis Alexander, who served as a Supervisior Council member for nearly a decade and was a member of the Board of Supervisors for almost 10 years, died Jan. 31 at age 84.

Alexander was born in Santa Monica and enlisted in the Navy after high school, serving during the Second World War, in the Pacific Theater.

At the outset of his career, Alexander was sent to San Diego, where he worked in a shipyard, rose to become a chief engineer.

He then spent nearly three decades in Los Angeles, first on the Department of Water and Power board and then with the Los Angeles City Council as a member of the Public Works committee.

He took over as the city’s only black administrator in 1979, when he became the director of the Department of Water and Power, then headed by Paul Schreiner, who was then head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Schreiner was murdered in 1990 when Alexander ran into him during a jog in his neighborhood of Santa Monica. The killing was the subject of an intensive Los Angeles police investigation that included wiretaps and wiretapped telephone calls.

Alexander was in office until just after 5 p.m. Monday, when his health suddenly deteriorated, prompting his resignation. He was hospitalized for several days before dying a few hours later at Huntington Hospital.

Alexander was buried next to his mother and sister at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Santa Monica.

After serving in City Hall for 36 years, Alexander then retired, in 2001, to a life of travel.

He worked with a foundation and the United Nations to establish the Kurtis Alexander Memorial Scholarship, named for his son, the late Kurtis Alexander Alexander Jr.

He also founded the Kurtis Alexander Foundation. The foundation’s work is to support projects around the world, ranging from education to economic development to health and other initiatives for humanity.

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