Friends, family and Faith will miss Alfred Fink

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
FAITH — There’s a round table inside the A&L Mini Mart on Main Street that on most days is surrounded by regular customers.
On Friday, Richard Collins sat there alone. He’s the nephew of Alfred Fink, the Mini Mart owner who died in a head-on collision Thursday afternoon.
“Normally this table would be full,” Collins said. “He was always out here.”
Robin Euart, who worked more than 20 years for Fink, said she felt like she needed to be at the store after his passing.
“It’s not going to be just a loss for the family, it’s a loss for the community and a loss for us,” Euart said.
Faith Mayor Keith Deal said the town has “lost a good friend and a good businessman in Faith.”
And many of its residents have lost a good friend.
Deal said he’s known Fink most of his life and saw him almost every day. He spent many mornings with him sitting at the table inside the Mini Mart, joking with residents and enjoying the company.
“I was in there this morning and you looked for him to come around the corner and talk to you,” he said Friday afternoon. “But he wasn’t there.”
Known for many things
Alfred Fink was known for many things in Faith.
He was the Pancake Man, the Frito Lay guy, the friend who brought drinks and cups to your home after the death of a loved one.
Fink was well known in the community for his “Pancake Days,” which began years ago when he fixed breakfast for his Camping Club. The event grew and Fink began having a Pancake Day at his home once or twice a year for his family.
When Fink last hosted the Pancake Day, about 180 participants came to Fink’s 5350 Faith Road home. Linda Fink said they were planning to have a Pancake Day later this year.
For years, Fink’s family said, he took ice, drinks and other paper products to the homes of families who had a recent death.
Deal said Fink was one of the first to come by his house after Deal’s father died from cancer three years ago.
“He was one of the first ones I saw,” Deal said.
Fink was pronounced dead on the scene Thursday when Jazmein Parker lost control of her van and crossed the center line, colliding with Fink’s blue Dodge van near the 2900 block of Faith Road. He would have turned 71 on Oct. 13.
Parker was initially taken by ambulance to Rowan Regional Medical Center. From there, she was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She was listed in good condition on Friday.
Fink’s wife, Linda, said he was on the way to the dentist when the wreck happened.
“I heard the rescue squad go up the road,” Linda Fink said. “I thought they went up Raney Street.”
The Finks’ daughter, Cindy Freeman, called Linda and asked if Alfred made it to the dentist appointment. When Linda called and asked, they said he never came.
A joker and family man
Alfred Fink was “a joker,” family and friends said Friday.
Diagnosed with diabetes at 14, he lost his leg in 2003 to the condition. But he turned the experience into something that brightened others’ days.
Fink was often spotted using his prosthetic leg, which he called “Fred,” as a tool to make others laugh, his family and friends said.
“He never complained,” Linda Fink said.
Fink’s family recalled frequent jokes he would make with his prosthetic leg, like sticking it out the window, or turning it around backwards.
Family members gathered at the Finks’ home Friday shared memories and hugs as they remembered the 70-year-old man who “never met a stranger.”
The home is filled with photos of family, and several friends came by to drop off food and give their condolences on Friday.
Grandson Nick Freeman said Fink, who had three daughters and eight grandchildren, was a “family man.”
“He did a lot of things for people,” he said. “He did a lot for his family.”
Daughter Velinda Fink said she knew she would get a phone call about her father’s passing someday, but didn’t think it would be Thursday.
“He didn’t suffer, and I’m glad for that,” she said.
Fink loved to fish, going to Cape Lookout three times a year, his family said. He also drag-raced his Volkswagen Beetle before losing his leg.
“He was talking about getting back into it,” Linda Fink said.
Gina Basinger, a former employee and family friend, said she felt like Fink was her “second father.”
When Basinger got out of the hospital in 2007, Fink was the first to hug her.
“When I went up to the store, I think everybody was afraid to hug me because I was so tiny and small,” she said. “But he hugged me and I didn’t think he’d ever let go.”
Brenda Welch, co-owner of the Faith Soda Shop, said Fink was a major part of the town.
“I know he was an important part of the community,” she said. “It’s a sad time for everybody here.”
Fink’s family will receive friends Sunday at Powles Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held Monday. A full obituary is on page 7A.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246 or
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