Funeral services for Floyd N. Booker Sr., a long-time business leader and community advocate, will be held Thursday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church. Interment will follow at Willamette National Cemetery.
Booker died April 26, 2012 at the age of 88. He leaves a legacy filled with many personal accomplishments and a profound influence on the many individuals who knew him.
He was born in Rosebud, Texas on May 17, 1923 from the union of Oscar Sr. and Ida Mae Clark Booker. After graduating from Dunbar High School, he served in the U. S. Army during World War II and was Honorably Discharged in 1943. He arrived in Portland during the 1940’s great migration of southern born African Americans who were seeking a better quality of life.
In 1947, Mr. Booker met Mary J. Matthews and from this union and marriage had seven children, six boys and one daughter. In addition to his strong family orientation, he had a strong work ethic and worked for Union Pacific Railroad for 18 years, eventually becoming a union shop steward.
He took part time work performing janitorial services to supplement his railroad employment income. During the day he worked full time at the railroad and performed janitorial work in the late evenings to early morning. After leaving employment with Union Pacific, and at the urging of his brother Oscar Booker Sr., he devoted full time effort to his janitorial business, Courtesy Janitorial Service, which he established in 1956.
The business employed many people in the African-American community. His witnessing acts of racism during his youth and the unfolding events during the civil rights movement era had a profound impact on him and a strong desire to help others achieve success.
He built his legacy upon a strong foundation of respect and courtesy for others. Mr. Booker believed in second chances and was a member of organizations that supported second chances, hope and opportunity for others.
He was sought after by academic professors and others for his opinions on historical perspectives and racial issues. The New York Times and the Oregonian voiced his opinions regarding the gentrification occurring around his business on Northeast Alberta Street.
His door was always open to listen and offer his sage advice. Many young African American males who had played sports with his sons, or participated in other school activities, including hanging around his house after school, respected him, and returned to greet and share their life events.
Mr. Booker was often seen lending a hand to those less fortunate by offering them a job with his business. Through owning and operating his janitorial business for over 56 years, he provided hundreds of jobs for individuals in the community, who were not considered employable by mainstream employers.
In addition to his family, Mr. Booker warmly embraced his community and was actively involved in his community. He will be remembered forever by his family, friends and the community he supported and loved, and who loved him.
Survivors include his wife Mary; daughter Denise R. Booker; and sons Floyd II, Harry, Ronald Sr., Michael Sr., and Ricky Sr.; brother Oscar Booker Jr.; 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. A son, Ladale died earlier.