Jack wrote a wonderful tribute to Alex below. A few more, overlapping thoughts:
We had a little ritual whenever I walked by him and he was sitting at the reception desk (where he filled in) watching old wrestling videos. I’d say, “pile-driver?” and make a kind of pile-driver motion. (The pile-driver is one of the few things I know about professional wrestling.) He’d shake his head, and go on to explain, say, how the match was from George Championship Wrestling in the 1970s and give a brief history lesson of the role of that outfit in the rise of wrestling nationally.
He was a man of few words, but when he wanted to tell you something or ask something, he’d kind of sidle up and look at you sideways. Then, with a wry smile, as if he already knew the answer and was only humoring you by bringing it up, ask something like, “So, how’s Trump doing?”
As Jack noted, he was no respecter of persons. He would treat you exactly the same if you were the Secretary of State or the cable guy. He was courteous, if never overly impressed by anyone. He was a gentle soul, but every now and again he’d make a little remark and as I was walking away it would slowly occur to me, “I think Al just mocked me!”
Shy, awkward, unusual, he is the type of person that the busy, self-important world tends to brush by and forget. Not here. Not ever. Goodbye, Alex. We love you.