John W. Alford

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Early Life

John W. Alford was born in Baltimore, Ohio on October 21, 1912. He attended DePauw University and attained employment at Park National Bank in 1935. He was a World War II veteran and "active in the Newark Area Chamber of Commerce, Licking Memorial Hospital, the Boy Scouts, United Way, Salvation Army, Par Excellence Learning Center and other groups."[1] John and his wife had two children: Ronald B. Alford and Barbara (Alford) Cantlin.[2]

Career at Park National Bank

Marker dedicating the building at 21 South First Street in Alford's honor.
Historical Marker on the John W. Alford Building, 21 South First Street, Newark, Ohio. Photo by William Fischer, Jr of Scranton PA. October 15, 2008

Alford was named the Director of Park National Bank in December of 1952, after 17 years with the financial institution. Alford was promoted to Vice President of Park National Bank in 1946. In December of 1952, after 17 years with the financial institution, Alford was named Director of the bank. He went on to become President in 1956, Chief Executive Officer in 1960 and Chairman of the Board in 1979.[3] He was also named the Director of the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland in 1977.[4]

Local Philanthropy

Newspaper article congratulating Alford on 50 years at Park National Bank.
Announcement from the October 17, 1985 edition of The Granville Sentinel celebrating Mr. Alford.

Not only was Mr. Alford a prominent business man, but his kindness, generosity, and philanthropic efforts continue to make a difference in the lives of Licking County residents more than twenty years after his death. During his life, he was active in many local organizations, including: director and treasurer for the United Way of Licking County; member of the citizens' advisory committee for the Board of Education for Newark Public Schools; helped raise over $80,000 for the Food Pantry of Licking County in 1983; trustee of the Licking County Foundation for Public Giving; honorary trustee of the Dawes Arboretum; life trustee of Denison University; and held leadership roles in Boy Scouts, Denison University Research Foundation and Ohio State University-Newark Campus.[5]

Mr. Alford was a beacon of the Licking County community during his life, and his legacy pays tribute to his kindness and passion for the people of Licking County. In October of 1985, to celebrate his 50 years of service to Park National Bank, the financial institution published announcement in The Granville Sentinel. The one-page statement praised Alford, stating "His professional and civic achievements are lofty, numerous and meaningful.... John Alford is a truly great man".[6]

Alford's Death

John Alford died on May 27, 1996 at the home of his daughter following six months of failing health.[7]

A Small List of His Lasting Generosity

  • John and Mary Alford Foundation – Created by John and Mary's son & daughter to carry on the charitable and philanthropic giving activities of John and Mary Alford, with an emphasis on improving and enhancing the quality of life primarily in the Licking County Community through the support of educational, social, religious and cultural programs".[8]
  • John W. Alford Extraordinary Lifetime Achievement Award - This "award is in recognition of an individual's unselfish contribution of time, talent and resources to the community."[9]
  • John W. Alford Scholarship - Recipients are students at The Ohio State University-Newark Campus and is "awarded to student with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who are single parents and residents of Licking County with demonstrated financial need."[10]
  • Alford's $500,000 donation to the James - In honor of his wife Mary, Alford created the first research endowment the hospital received since the hospital's opening in July of 1990. In June of 2011, Ron Alford and Barb Cantlin (John and Mary's children), pledged an additional $500,000 to the James to establish the Mary E. and John W. Alford Cancer Research Endowment Fund.[11]
  • John Alford Community Service Award
  • Alford Community Leadership & Involvement Center at Denison University



  1. "John W. Alford, Newark Banker, is Dead at 83," The Columbus Dispatch, Mary 29, 1996.
  2. Florida, County Marriages, 1823-1982 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.
  3. John W. Alford is New Director of Park National," The Newark Advocate, December 1, 1952.
  4. Park National Bank, "In 1908, Park National Was a Very Small Bank.....," The Granville Sentinel, March 13, 2003.
  5. "John Alford is Honored with Memorial Hospital Award," The Granville Sentinel, April 27, 1989.
  6. Park National Bank, "Congratulations John W. Alford on 50 Years in Banking," The Granville Sentinel, October 17, 1985.
  7. "John W. Alford, Newark Banker, is Dead at 83," The Columbus Dispatch, May 29, 1996.
  8. "Grants: Other Funding Sources," The Licking County Foundation website, accessed September 12, 2017.
  9. "Local Scene," The Columbus Dispatch, February 3, 1997.
  10. "John W. Alford Scholarship," The Ohio State University – Newark, 2017. accessed September 12, 2017.
  11. Eileen Scahill, "$1 Million to Fund Head and Neck Cancer Chair at the James," The Ohio State University: Comprehensive Cancer Center, June 17, 2011. Accessed September 12, 2017 from