Albert Lexie, Long-Time Shoeshiner and Philanthropist at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Dies at 76

October 16, 2018

Albert Lexie, the Monessen native who shined shoes at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for more than three decades, died on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.

Lexie committed his life to raising money for the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. He donated all the tips he earned from his one-man shoeshine business to help ensure no children from the region go without the care they need. Since he started in 1982, Lexie raised more than $202,000 for the Free Care Fund.

Every Tuesday and Thursday for more than three decades, Lexie would make his trip to the hospital by bus, leaving home at 5:50 a.m. and arriving at the hospital around 7:25 a.m. He would then begin his day by picking up his purple shoeshine cart, and set off on his routine — visiting doctors, executives and staff members to shine their shoes.

“First and foremost, Albert was our friend. He was a fixture at Children’s Hospital for more than three decades, and his kindess and generosity were and continue to be an inspiration for all of us,” said Christopher Gessner, president, UPMC Children’s Hospital. “He represented the true spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy and the contributions he made to the hospital far exceeded the tips he donated.”

Lexie began his shoeshine career about 40 years ago, when he built a shoeshine box in shop class. In addition to shining shoes at UPMC Children’s, Lexie traveled to others area in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities to offer his services.

Lexie received several awards over the decades for his years of charity work, including being honored as one of 30 “All Stars Among Us” by Major League Baseball and People magazine in 2010, which recognized individuals who are serving the community in extraordinary ways. He also received the 2006 National Caring Award given by the Caring Institute, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans. In addition, his work was recognized on several television programs including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Jane Pauley Show,” “ABC News,” and “CBS Evening News,” among many others.

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