The sun rose on Alexander Spellman on September 13, 1934. He was born to Amy McCoy and Columbus McLeod in Dillon, South Carolina. Alexander, better known as “Booster” to most, was the eldest of sixteen children. Amy, with Booster in tow, embarked on a new life in Brooklyn, New York with Hezekiah Spellman, her husband, and Booster’s adoptive father. Booster attended Public School 3, the neighboring middle school, Williamsburg High School, and Transit Tech in Brooklyn.
Booster grew up on the famed Fulton Street. It was here where he launched, and became well known for, his photography. He was a curious creative teen. His love for the art grew as he captured urban life in Brooklyn and abroad. He practiced his art until he could no longer see to do so. Booster was introduced to Christianity at a young age while attending the original Cornerstone Baptist Church with his mother. And, it was there where he joined and became a loyal and honorable Scout Master for the National Boy Scouts. Booster always served and mentored the youth, so he started and headed up neighborhood softball teams and youth baseball leagues. Booster was also known for his high-society social events, and his annual family prayer breakfasts where his blended family of siblings, cousins, and associates gathered in Booster’s glow.
While assisting with the family restaurant, lounge, and real estate business, Alexander joined the Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1962 as a Tier One Surface Line Operator, where he manned the No. 69 Bus for thirty-five faithful years. Shortly after investing in his MTA career, he met his soulmate and the love of his life, Vashtie Dandridge. They married and formed a family with Stanley Dandridge, Stacy Lamar Spellman, Althea Gervaise Spellman and Angela Grace Spellman. Booster was a hands-on dad, ushering his daughters to and from their church activities at the new Cornerstone Baptist Church where he quickly became the honorary “Dean” of the Church School Choir. He immersed himself into church life, was baptized, and reinstated into the church family. And, like most of the things he started, he committed to church life, subsequently dedicating himself to serve on the Trustee Board and settling in on the esteemed Cornerstone Baptist Church Deacon Board.
As the eldest of his siblings, Booster leaves to cherish his giant-sized memory, his wife of fifty-five years: Vashtie Spellman; his sons: Stanley Dandridge and Stacy Lamar Spellman; his daughters: Althea Gervaise Spellman and Angela Grace Kavanagh; eight sisters: Sarah Wall, Carry Mae McLeod, Retha Thomas, Martha Bridges, Patricia Manning, Gloria Ellerbe, Loretta Hudson and Lena Spellman; three brothers: Luther McLeod, Hector McLeod and Johnny Lee McLeod; his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, a daughter-in-law Denean Spellman; and a son-in-law Patrick Kavanagh; his grandchildren: Olatunde Spellman, Osayomi Spellman, David Alexander Thomas and Olayinka Spellman who are charged with carrying on his creative legacy; along with all of the cherished friends, church members and acquaintances he has made over a lifetime.
On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, Alexander’s sun set after unrelenting service to all he encountered. He went on to join his brother’s gone: Fred McLeod, Donnie McLeod, Columbus McLeod and Aaron Spellman in the hereafter. And now, we all commit to achieving just a fraction of his life’s work.