Friday, August 19, 2016

JULES ALEXANDER AND A LIFE WELL-LIVED


Jules Alexander passed away peacefully Friday morning August 19, 2016.

It marked the end of an truly incredible life that was rich with an amazing family, 
countless friends, and almost universal love and respect.


Simply put, Jules Alexander lived a life well-lived. One with few regrets, incredible
times, and a legacy fortified by the keen eye of a photographer who captured moments
that became indelible ones in the lives of so many, including my own.


Alexander had a personality as unique as his first name. He was thoughtful, measured,
loyal, honorable, and blessed with a gift for not only taking pictures, but telling stories
in a way that not only made people laugh, but left them feeling better about themselves.

The Bronx native photographed everyone from John F. Kennedy to Muhammad Ali.
In between there was Frank Sinatra,  Christie Brinkley, and a young Mike Tyson.
However, it was his spectacular pictures of golf legend Ben Hogan that helped
Alexander gain fame within both the photography and golf industries.


In 1959, Alexander, made the short journey to the Winged Foot Golf Club to
photograph  Hogan. Alexander was fascinated with just about everything the legendary
golfer did.

He studied his swing, how Hogan stood, the way he dressed, and even the way he
took a drag off his cigarette. Alexander would build a collection of Hogan photos
like the tradition of the Masters: unlike any other.


It was pure gold and nearly every golfer on the PGA Tour would flock to
Alexander's home which sat at the end of the driving range of the Westchester
Country Club. They wanted to see the perfect pictures of the golf legend who
possessed a near perfect swing.

He became friends with Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, Player, Mickelson, and
just about every other big name in the game of golf. But Alexander's named carried
a lot of weight, as well. Say the name, "Jules" and everyone in the industry
knew who you were talking about.

Alexander's first name was Jules, but to nearly everyone at his home course
at the Westchester Country Club, he was the "Hawk", which was the nickname
of his hero, Ben Hogan. When he played, Alexander dressed a lot like Hogan,
right down to the white hat Hogan used to wear.

Jules played the game with style, a little flair, and the laser-like focus of Hogan.
He loved the game dearly, had fun with it, and was damn good, always
carrying a handicap in the single digits. And anybody who played a round with
Jules was always a little disappointed that it had to end after 18 holes.


Alexander also got paid to travel the world to shoot amazing holes on the
best golf courses ever built. They would be turned into spectacular calendars that
always seemed to show up in the hands of all of his friends.

His best friends in life were his wife, Danna, a former model, who could deftly
handle Jules and his big personality like no one else. She is brilliant, kind, and
magnificent. She was the perfect partner for Jules during their more than 50 years
of marriage.

Then there is Paul and Carl, the sons who made golf into careers as professionals,
presiding over two of the most prestigious country clubs in New York, located
within a Bubba Watson drive of where they grew up.

Jules, Paul, and Carl were as close as any father and sons could possibly be. The
kids worshipped Jules, who got to see, play with, and photograph them as they
grew into spectacular golfers known by just about everyone in the industry along
the Eastern seaboard.

I was best friends with Paul and Carl growing up. We spent countless days playing
baseball, golf, and just about everything else kids did to pass the time. Jules was
seemingly always there with camera in hand. From Little League, Pop Warner
football, to the golf course, Jules took incredible pictures and gave them to
the family, never asking for, or expecting anything in return.

In June, many of Jules' good friends gathered at his home to celebrate his 90th
birthday. There were great pictures, even better stories, and that laugh from Jules
that we all loved and could never forget.

Sadly, it turned out to be a good-bye for many people, the last time they would
see or talk to Jules. I have known Jules since I was 7-years-old. He was family
and a big part of my life as well as the rest of the Devlin clan.

Jules took his last breath Friday morning, putting the period on the story of an
incredible life well-lived.


I will miss Jules. Countless other people will, too. There was nobody like him. Nobody.

Rest in peace, Jules, everybody loved you.



2 comments:

  1. Paul, I just learned of Jules passing. I caddied on the PGA Tour for 10 years. My first victory as a caddy occurred in Jules backyard, Westchester C.C. I was blessed to call Jules, Paul, Carl and Danni my friends. Thank you for this writing.

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