Earl Melvin Lloyd, 95, formerly of Philadelphia, who owned several businesses, including as an insurance adjuster and a building contractor, died Thursday, May 26, of end-stage dementia at ShorePoint Hospital in Venice, Fla.
Mr. Lloyd was known as a devoted family man who loved spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, and making life fun for them.
“He loved to take us on family vacations,” said his daughter Beth Anne Lloyd. “We would pack up the station wagon with friends and cousins who always joined in on road trips.”
His daughter said he was known for coming home after work on a weekday, and telling everyone to hop in the car. He would drive them on long winding roads outside the city to an ice cream shop where the children’s eyes would widen at the size of the giant scoops.
“He would say the ice cream scoops were bigger than our heads,” Lloyd said. She said that after she and her sister became adults, they could never figure out exactly where that ice cream place was.
His daughters also love to tell the story of the time their father followed a group of young men with large Afros walking into the side entrance of the old Philadelphia Marriott Hotel on City Avenue in 1971.
It turned out to be Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jackson 5.
After following them to their rooms, Mr. Lloyd left to gather his daughters and a few of their cousins, then drove them back to the hotel and talked his way inside, where the girls were able to get autographs and take photos with the Jacksons.
Earl Melvin Lloyd was born in Philadelphia on April 17, 1927, to Elon and Ethel Melvin Lloyd. He was the eighth of nine children.
His father worked as a longshoreman on the Philadelphia riverfront. His mother was a homemaker.
Growing up, Mr. Lloyd was known by his middle name. In fact, friends of Mr. Lloyd said they never knew his first name was Earl, according to his daughter.
He attended Philadelphia public schools and graduated from Bartram High School.
At Howard University, Mr. Lloyd’s best friend had a girlfriend who introduced Mr. Lloyd to her cousin, Alice Lorrain Whitehead, who was visiting the university. Both young women were also from Philadelphia, but Mr. Lloyd had not met Alice until the introduction on campus.
Mr. Lloyd graduated from Howard in 1948, and on Sept. 7, 1952, the two were married. The couple moved to Nashville, Tenn., where Mr. Lloyd started classes at Meharry Medical College.
However, after Mr. Lloyd was diagnosed with lupus and the death of his father, who was paying for his tuition, his dreams of becoming a doctor ended.
He and his wife returned to Philadelphia, where Mr. Lloyd began working in a number of businesses, including real estate, insurance, and building construction.
One of his favorite sayings, his daughter said, was: “A measure of a man is how well he provides for his family.”
Mr. Lloyd took pride in working hard so his daughters could attend private school and later college. He also supported his daughter’s medical school education. Beth Anne Lloyd is a family and sports-medicine doctor in Florida.
His daughters said their father had a way of making friends everywhere he went.
“My dad touched everyone’s life he came in touch with,” said Monique Lloyd Parker, his older daughter. “He would talk to strangers, and he would make friends everywhere. He saw the world as a great place.”
“He never said he faced racism. He said people are people, and there are good and bad in everyone.”
Mr. Lloyd’s wife, whose nickname for him was “Swell Mel,” died in 2001 from a heart attack, as they were planning for their 50th wedding anniversary.
In addition to his two daughters, Mr. Lloyd is survived by four grandsons and a host of nieces and nephews.
A funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Church of St. Martin in the Fields, 8000 St. Martins Lane, Philadelphia, 19118. A viewing is from 9 to 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Ivy Hill Cemetery.