Gene Lockhart, a local icon for his role as owner of the highly-acclaimed Midtown Plaza store “All Day Sunday,” passed way recently, while vacationing in Miami, Florida.
He was 78.
Lockhart, and his ex-wife Joan Coles Howard (who was also renowned for her community work operating Rochester’s longest running African-American newspaper, The Frederick Douglass Voice), opened the downtown store in 1969.
“All Day Sunday” sold a mix of African attire, trendy urban clothing, jewelry, African sculpture and more, but Lockhart was also famous for his dedication to community service, and his commitment to Rochester’s youth.
“’All Day Sunday” was much more than a store,” a 2013 article in the Democrat and Chronicle stated. “Applicants didn’t fill out forms, they wrote a letter of interest. The Lockharts held weekly classes for employees, teaching them how to do business their way. They encouraged employees who wanted to start their own businesses, and sometimes sold their merchandise. They funded college scholarships.”
The Lockharts were well-known for providing college scholarships to the store’s student employees, as well as for hosting annual events that featured a black Santa Clause during the holiday season, and other community-focused events.
Lockhart married his second wife, Ruby Lockhart, in 1986, and the couple ran the store together before retiring in 2002.
Ruby went on to become executive director of Garth Fagan Dance, while Lockhart professed to spend most of his time at the gym, according to a 2013 article in the D&C.
Services for Lockhart will take place on Friday, May 18, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., in the Lyric Theater, at 440 East Ave.
The family will also hold a reception at the same location, in former “All Day Sunday” fashion.
Lockart is survived by his three children, former wives Joan and Ruby, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As a former champion of the Rochester Community, he will be sorely missed.