Francis Williams Tracy will be remembered by loved ones as a hard-working man with a deep passion for the city of Harlem.
"He was a huge support in terms of employment for people in Harlem," said close friend and former Harlem Mayor James Lewis. "He was very dedicated to the church and contributed very highly to the church and to the city."
The Tracy-Luckey Co. founder and former Harlem mayor died Wednesday at age 94. A funeral was held Friday at Harlem Baptist Church.
Tracy's venture into the pecan business started in 1937 when he began shelling and selling the nuts to retail and wholesale buyers, such as grocery, candy and ice cream industries.
In 1950, the company was incorporated and named Tracy-Luckey Co. Inc.
Tracy stepped down as the company's president and chairman in 2007.
"He loved to work," said Tracy's granddaughter Ruth Tracy Blackburn, who is the CEO of Lucky Lady Pecans, Gifts & More. "He came here every day and walked up these high stairs, and he was just an unbelievable man."
Lewis, who described Tracy as a "brilliant man," said the life-long Harlem resident was sympathetic and compassionate to the needs of the plant's employees.
"He did so many favors for people in his plant," Lewis said. "He was real good to his employees."
As members of the National Pecan Shellers Association, Blackburn said, she and her grandfather would travel to conventions twice a year throughout the United States.
"We laughed, and we had so much fun," she said. "We just had this connection, because we're so much alike."
Tracy traveled extensively throughout the world and liked to entertain friends and family.
Tracy was a dedicated member of Harlem Baptist Church since 1923. He was a deacon at the church for more than 50 years.
Tracy twice served as the mayor of Harlem, in 1947-48 and 1960-63. He also served on the city council and was a founding member of the Columbia County Development Authority.
After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Tracy served three years as a lieutenant in the 24th Infantry of the Army.
In the past five months, Blackburn said, her grandfather lost his wife of 69 years, Jane Ellis Tracy, and his sister, Louise Tracy. His eldest son, Lee L. Tracy, died about three years ago.
In addition to Blackburn, Tracy is survived by his daughter, Fran Tracy-Walls; his son, Richard Tracy; granddaughters Katherine Walls, Christine Walls, Katrina Langdon and Mary Tracy; and great-grandsons Will Blackburn and Jack Langdon.
Lewis, who has known Tracy for about 60 years, said the Tracy will be remembered as a "fine Christian man."
"We lost a legend from Harlem," he said. "It is a great loss."
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