Born in Easton, PA on November 21, 1936, his parents were the late Elbern H. (Eddie) Alkire and Margaret Hanzel Alkire. He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Gratia Greene Alkire. Family survivors include a son, Dr. Ti Alkire of Ithaca (NY), and a brother Dr. Richard C. Alkire and his wife Melissa Huff of Champaign (IL).
Raised in a musical family, his initial training was by his parents, both music teachers. Subsequently he studied piano, clarinet (playing in two marching bands), and double bass (playing in two symphonies), all while he was a teenager.
Formally educated in the Easton area schools, Ed was an honor graduate of Easton High School in 1954. He won a full tuition merit scholarship to Lafayette College where he majored in Chemical Engineering and extracurricular activities graduating in 1958. During college summers, Ed worked for Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville (OK) and Borger (TX), and for Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati (OH).
Following graduation, he was recruited by the General Electric Company to work at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady (NY). There he was involved in the design and testing of power plant systems for nuclear submarines, for the U.S. Navy and Admiral Hyman Rickover. He also earned a masters degree in Chemical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy (NY).
In 1962, Alkire joined the Air Products Company in Allentown as a development engineer. Over the next 33 years he held a number of technical and management positions of increasing responsibility, concluding with a broad assignment in quality and organization improvement. In 1975 he was a loaned executive to Pennsylvania serving on the Governor’s Review of state government where he focused on Bloomsburg University. While at Air Products he also attended the Executive Program at the University of Michigan College of Business. After retiring from Air Products and Chemicals in 1995, he became an examiner for the Baldrige national quality award. He also served as an executive consultant in residence at the State System of Higher Education in Harrisburg (PA).
During his entire adult life, Ed was extensively involved in support of higher education both at Lafayette College and Bloomsburg University. At Lafayette he was fund manager for his class for 50 years, held volunteer leadership positions in every facet of College operations, served as a trustee and as president of the alumni association, and at the 2011 Commencement became the ninth recipient of the Lafayette Medal for distinguished service. At Bloomsburg he served as a trustee and as chairman of the Bloomsburg University Foundation. He was also chair of the advisory board of the college of business and chair and founding member of the advisory council of the department of nursing. Ed was given the Eberly Medal for Volunteerism at Bloomsburg by the State System of Higher Education, and was an honorary alumnus of Bloomsburg.
Alkire was a member of Mensa, and a former member of the American Society of Quality, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Federation of Musicians (former Local 379).
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Lafayette College Annual Fund. Finegan Funeral Home of Easton, PA is handling the arrangements.