Dr. Paul Alford leaves behind a legacy of friendship and academic excellence

Forty five years ago, Dr. Paul Alford became the fourth president of Toccoa Falls College, bringing his wife and two daughters to a college still struggling through the tragic aftermath of a devastating flood, and facing financial challenges 

Alford served as President of Toccoa Falls College until 2000, and during that time, the growth of the college, and the advancements and successes instituted by Alford, included the addition of several new majors, full accreditation, new buildings and facility improvements, and a radio station. 

But what stands out to many, and what his daughter Sharon Crosby says he would want to be his legacy, was his care for the students and staff at the college. 

Alford passed away August 10 at the age of 93, and Crosby sat down earlier this week with WNEG News to share her memories of her father and his service to, and love of, the college and the community of Toccoa/Stephens County.   

Crosby said that her father’s viewing and funeral have been set for this weekend. 


She said that, as a child, her father was not anything like the outgoing and confident man that people in Toccoa knew. She said that after he made a shift into the outlook and personality that would carry him through the rest of his life, he had a natural gift for leadership


During his career, and in all his interactions with his students, his staff, and everyone he knew it was his friendliness and caring that people remembered


Despite having Billy Graham as a youth pastor, Crosby said her father did not intend to go into ministry


Through many different ministries and leadership positions, Alford became associated with Toccoa Falls College, serving on the college’s Board, including during the flood in 1977, and when he stepped into the role of President of the college in 1979, many warned him it would be the end of his career, but as with each step of his path up to that time, he said he was following where God led him.


While his leadership of Toccoa Falls College played a large role in the current status of the college, Crosby says there was a part of her father that would have been happy simply being a small town pastor.


Above all, Crosby said, her father loved his students and the faculty, and felt what he brought to the college was important.

Despite all his accomplishments, however, Crosby said he knew he was human and needed God’s guidance in his life. 

Rev. Dr. Paul Alford

March 16, 1930 – August 10, 2023

Dr. Paul L. Alford, age 93, of Toccoa passed away Thursday, August 10, 2023 at Oak Pointe Assisted Living.

Born on March 16, 1930 in Tampa, FL, he was the son of the late L. E. Alford, Sr. and the late Elizabeth Alderman Alford.

Dr. Alford was a member of Hope Community Bible Church of C&MA in Spring Hill, FL.  He was in the United States Naval Reserves, and served as President of Toccoa Falls College.

Family members include his daughters, Rebecca Grace Zuch (John) of Wake Forest, NC, and Sharon Ann Crosby (Jarvis) of Toccoa; granddaughters, Sharon Lohr (Jason), Kristina Jones (Robert), Sarah Schell (Forest), and Mallery Jordan (Joshua); grandsons, John Zuch (Jessica) and Paul Crosby (Sarah); 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceeded in death by his wife, Grace Tropf Alford; sisters, Evelyn Alford and Coline Alford; and his brother, L.E. Alford, Jr.

The family will receive friends at the mortuary from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm Saturday, August 19, 2023.

Funeral services will be held at Grace Alford Performing Arts Center on the campus of Toccoa Falls College at three o’clock Sunday, August 20, 2023, with Rev. David Pletincks officiating.

Dr. Paul Alford’s body will lie in state from 2 pm to the service hour at the Grace Alford Performing Arts Center.

Burial will follow at Toccoa Falls College Cemetery.

The following gentlemen will serve as pallbearers: Jason Lohr, Forest Schell, Rob Jones, Paul Crosby, John Zuch, and Josh Jordan.

Flowers are optional.  The family is requesting donations be made in memory of Dr. Paul Alford to the Great Commission Fund of the Christian Missionary Alliance https://cmalliance.org/who-we-are/great-commission-fund/  or Toccoa Falls College, 107 Kincaid Dr, Toccoa Falls, GA 30598.

Whitlock Mortuary, Funerals and Cremations is honored to be serving the family of Dr. Paul L. Alford.

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