Cover photo for Alfred "Al" Schiff's Obituary
Alfred "Al" Schiff Profile Photo

Alfred "Al" Schiff

September 29, 1931 — July 10, 2018

Alfred "Al" Schiff

Alfred Nathan “Al” Schiff 87, Captain, USAF retired, patriarch, leader, philanthropist, mentor of Tampa, FL, passed away July 10, 2018, at his home in Tampa, FL. Mr. Schiff was known as “Al” to all who met him. Born in Cleveland, OH, Al was the oldest child of Sidney J. Schiff, a college professor and teacher, and Bess Schneiderman Schiff. He revered his grandfather, George Schneiderman. Al graduated from Cleveland Heights High School, initially attended the University of Louisville and graduated from the University of Rochester, on a Navy scholarship, with a B.S. in Engineering Physics in 1953. He married his love, Rose Wallens, in 1954 who he had met in high school. Al served in the United States Air Force. He was first stationed in Morocco and achieved the rank of Captain. Al flew multiple aircraft including the SA-16 Albatross and the C-124 Globemaster. Upon retiring from active duty in the USAF, Al went to work for Reliance Electric in Cleveland, OH.  Al continued to serve in the USAF Reserves, flying the C-119, and ultimately served as a liaison for the Air Force Academy.  At Reliance, Al rose in management and was instrumental in the growth of the motors and drives industry in America. He designed the first tracking control system for sub-orbital and orbital space missions and pioneered the use of DC drives in the pulp and paper industry.  Al joined Northeast Yacht Club and sailed Lake Erie as well as a number of famous Long Island Sound sailing races, including sailing on the yacht Bolero. In 1972, Al become General Manager of Toledo Scale, a division of Reliance and moved to Ottawa Hills (Toledo), OH.  Al transformed Toledo Scale from mechanical to electronic technologies, building the company into an international force on multiple continents and expanding its manufacturing in the U.S. He and Rose became patrons of the arts and culture in Toledo including the Toledo Orchestra and the Toledo Museum of Art. Al sailed at North Cape Yacht Club. In 1977, Al led the relocation of Toledo Scale’s headquarters to Columbus, OH, and relocated his family to Bexley. He and Rose became leaders in Columbus arts, culture and education, and Al joined the board of COSI helping transform COSI into a world class science center and the board of The Ohio State University College of Engineering. Under Al’s leadership, Toledo Scale was awarded the President of the United States’ “E” Award for significant contributions to the expansion of export trade of the U.S in 1979, Toledo Scale became part of Exxon., and in 1981, Exxon asked Al to move to Greensboro NC, to run Gilbarco, the leading provider of gas station technology, where he led its transformation from mechanical to electrical technologies and ran its worldwide operations and built Gilbarco into a worldwide powerhouse and oversaw construction of a new headquarters. Al served as a director at large of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, and sat on the boards of Guilford College, NCNB Greensboro, the North Carolina Symphony and Eastern Music Festival (EMF). Al was a member of Greensboro County Club and the City Club. In 1987, Al and Rose moved to Tampa, FL, near where they had owned a second home for years. Each summer, Al and Rose returned to Greensboro for EMF. In Tampa, Al built a number of companies through his firm Schiff & Associates, and served on the boards of 13 companies, including Florida Structured Steel and Saminco International.  Al and Rose became significant patrons of the Florida Orchestra, the Straz Center, Opera Tampa, Sarasota Opera and Asolo Theater. Al served on the boards of numerous non-profits including the USF Foundation Board, TOP, WEDU, and MOSI. Al became heavily involved in the USF College of Engineering and chaired its Advisory Board (2002-2006), gaining the College international recognition. Al was honored with the USF Class of 56 Award (2006), and more recently with the USF Lifetime Achievement Engineering Excellence Award (2018). Al made lasting contributions to Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Greensboro, Tampa and elsewhere as a teacher, mentor and role model, cultivating future generations of community and business leaders.  Al was predeceased by his father and mother, Sidney J. Schiff and Bess Schiff and his brother Harvey Schiff. Al is survived by his wife of 64 years, Rose Wallens Schiff, three sons, Brian (Marcia), Gordon (April) and Ned, 10 grandchildren, and his sister, Elaine Soffer. A private burial with USAF Honor Guard was held in Tampa, and a memorial service will be held on August 3, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. at Temple Schaarai Zedek, 3303 W. Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33609. Memorial contributions may be made to: Temple Schaarai Zedek Rabbi Simon Discretionary Fund, 3303 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33609, or; Eastern Music Festival, Schiff Family Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 22026, Greensboro, NC 27420.  (; USF College of Engineering, Attn: Dean Robert Bishop, 4202 E Fowler Ave, ENB 118, Tampa, FL 33620.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, August 3, 2018

Starts at 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

Congregation Schaarai Zedek

3303 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33609

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