Waterville native Peter G. Alfond, the son of the late philanthropist Harold Alfond, died Monday night of complications from malaria that he contracted on a trip to Africa.

Greg Powell, chief executive officer and president of Dexter Enterprises and the Alfond Foundation, said Tuesday in a phone interview that it is a sad day for the Alfond family and the Foundation.

Peter Alfond had been in Africa with family members and was having a wonderful trip when he contracted malaria, according to Powell.

“He was very much his father’s son in many ways. His generosity was still evolving and developing and his life has been cut short by something that is a terrible tragedy,” Powell said. “We’re certainly going to miss him.”

Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite, results in fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency estimates there were more than 200 million malaria cases worldwide in 2015, with 429,000 deaths resulting.

Peter Alfond, 65, of West Palm Beach, Florida, was a senior executive at Dexter Shoe Co., where he was president of PanAm Shoe, the base of Dexter’s Caribbean operations, according to Dexter’s website.

Peter Alfond had traveled recently to Tanzania, Kenya, and Cape Town, South Africa, but “we do not know where he contracted malaria,” said Travis Cummings, executive vice president of the Harold Alfond Foundation.

Colby College President David Greene issued a statement to the college community Tuesday saying he had learned that day of Alfond’s death.

“I spent time with Peter a few weeks back, just before he left on his trip, and he was his usual vibrant, passionate self,” Greene’s post says. “We were discussing one of his favorite topics — how to develop healthy communities and how we could do that at Colby and in central Maine. He was deeply committed to promoting physical, mental, and spiritual health. He expanded my thinking on these issues and inspired me to think more boldly about what is possible with a focused, strategic effort to support healthy lifestyles. Peter was endlessly curious and always onto the next adventure to learn and discover.”

Greene said that as passionate as Peter was about helping others, “his greatest devotion was to his family,” adding, “My heart goes out to the Alfond family.”

Peter Alfond’s family includes his four children, Rebekah, Kyle, Sarah, and Deborah; his siblings Colby Trustee Bill Alfond, a 1972 Colby graduate, and his wife, Joan, whose son is Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, a former Maine Senate president, Colby Museum Board of Governors member Ted Alfond and his wife, Board of Governors member Barbara, and Susan Alfond; and his extended family, including Board of Governors member Peter Lunder, a 1956 Colby graduate, and Trustee Paula Lunder. He was the son of Harold and Dorothy “Bibby” Alfond, who graduated from Colby in 1938.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins issued a statement Tuesday on his passing, saying that like his father, Peter Alfond was an “extraordinarily generous individual who gave back so much to Maine.”

“Peter dedicated his life to improving the wellbeing of others through his support of education, health care, and other laudable causes,” Collins said. “His vision and goodwill for our state have left a rich and lasting legacy. Although Peter will be deeply missed, his passion, altruism, and dedication to the people of Maine will never be forgotten.”

HEALTH PIONEER

Alfond most recently was director of Dexter Enterprises, Inc. and Wellomics. In 2007, he founded Kippur Corp., an investment holding company in Puerto Rico that also oversees philanthropic initiatives in the Caribbean.

In 1994, he founded the Peter Alfond Foundation, of which Powell is a trustee and which supports educational, health care and other charitable institutions in Maine, elsewhere in New England, and in the Caribbean. He served on many boards and advisory committees related to community and educational organizations, including MaineGeneral Health; the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts; and the Dorado Community Library in Puerto Rico.

Former Maine Gov. John Baldacci said in a phone interview Tuesday that he was deeply saddened by the news of Alfond’s passing.

“I worked with Peter on health care at MaineGeneral when I was governor,” Baldacci said. “Peter’s experience in health care was very well received, and more recently I sat with him and Bill Caron (president of MaineHealth) while going over nutrition and medical applications. He was really a pioneer in health care. I was shocked and saddened to see his passing. I’ve known him and the family for such a long time, and it’s very sad.”

Chuck Hays, president and chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Health, issued a statement offering sympathy to the Alfond family on behalf of MaineGeneral’s board of directors and staff.

“His loss is felt deeply across the health system he supported in so many ways,” Hays said. “Peter was a visionary. He was deeply committed to prevention and wellness, a passion he shared with the Greater Kennebec Valley Region. He did so through nearly a decade of MaineGeneral board service and through investments in progressive initiatives aimed at expanding collaborations that enhance community access to healthy living resources. His belief in the power of prevention resulted, among other things, in the rapid expansion of wellness opportunities for those we serve.

“Peter saw empowering possibility for everyone through engagement in their own health journey. We remain grateful for his advocacy and for his devotion to the wellbeing of our family and friends. While Peter was exceptionally generous, his greatest gift is the legacy he leaves — one of collaboration, mindfulness and the importance of prevention for long-term of quality of life.”

MaineHealth President Bill Caron said in a statement that Alfond “lent his support to work we are doing to combat cancer in Maine through the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network. Through this effort and so many other philanthropic endeavors, Peter devoted himself to making the lives of Maine people better. While he had a special affinity for the Waterville community, Peter did not limit his vision or his ambitions for the betterment of us all. He will be greatly missed.”

REMEMBERED FOR PHILANTHROPY

Peter Alfond came to Waterville for many important announcements involving the Alfond Foundation, including last October when downtown revitalization efforts got a massive boost from the Foundation and Colby College as officials announced they would infuse $20 million into projects to launch what eventually will become tens of millions of dollars more in downtown investments. The Alfond Foundation pledged a $10 million grant toward a special fund for revitalization, matching Colby’s $10 million investment.

Greene said in his email to the Colby community that Alfond was also a great supporter of downtown revitalization efforts.

“He saw the promise and importance of this work for a city he loved. He has also been generous to the Colby College Museum of Art and the Center for Small Town Jewish Life. While he would often remind me with a smile that he, a Rollins College graduate, never attended Colby, it was clear we had a dear friend in Peter.”

In Waterville, City Manager Michael Roy also said Monday that Alfond will be missed.

“Peter loved Waterville and his support for various causes was outstanding, especially the downtown revitalization work,” Roy said. “He was passionate and deeply committed to the causes he believed in and always curious about what the next opportunity might be to improve the world around him.”

Meanwhile, Powell posted a statement on the Harold Alfond Foundation website that says it is “with great sadness that the Board of the Harold Alfond Foundation announces the passing of our fellow trustee, Peter Alfond.”

“As a son of Harold Alfond, Peter was handpicked for the Board in 2007 by his father and served as a trustee until his passing yesterday. His many contributions to the Foundation’s work over the past decade are highlighted by his leadership on the boards or advisory groups of the Foundation’s grantees, most notably MaineGeneral Health and the Alfond Youth Center. Through these roles and many others he had in Central Maine and beyond, Peter gained insights which were invaluable to the Foundation and its giving.”

The statement goes on to say that “a prominent philanthropist in his own right, Peter supported educational, healthcare, and other charitable causes in Maine, New England, and the Caribbean through the Peter Alfond Foundation. His passion for alternative health care practices led his foundation to award $4 million to MaineGeneral Medical Center to establish and endow the Healthy Living Resource Center. The only program of its kind in the U.S., the Center focuses on healthy eating and cooking, physical movement, stress management, and mind-body therapies.”

Peter was guided by lessons he learned through business, according to Powell’s statement.

“He was a retired senior executive of Dexter Shoe Company, where he was president of PanAm Shoe, the base of Dexter’s Caribbean operations. His thirty-year tenure was marked by many successes, but he was proudest of the strong relationships he formed with PanAm employees and of the company’s economic investments in the Caribbean. In 2001, the town of Camuy, Puerto Rico, named a street after him in recognition of his contributions.”

He will be remembered for his philanthropy and business success, according to Powell.

“But, even more so, he will be remembered for his many endearing personal qualities — his kindness, his creativity, his curiosity for the world, his passion for healthy living, and his love of his family, friends, and the people of Central Maine. He was one of a kind, and will be greatly missed.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17