Floyd Westbrook arrived in Omaha on July 22, 1955 — his 25th birthday.
He was on vacation from the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway and never moved back to Senatobia-Cairo, Miss.
“He rode the bus here to Omaha, Nebraska, and arrived with a quarter in his pocket,” said daughter Joyce Westbrook-Davis of Omaha.
By the time he died Jan. 8, he was an Omaha business owner several times over.
Westbrook died in hospice care at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. He was 83 and had lung cancer, his daughter said.
In Omaha, he worked for Swift & Co. and took a second job at Armour Meat Packing.
“He worked two full-time, eight-hour jobs for 8˝ years,” Westbrook-Davis said, and started buying real estate.
“He and my mom on May 22, 1968, opened up their first business, F and L Grocery, at 3928 Maple St.,” she said. They added Sugar Hill Package Liquor next door in June 1970. In February 1987, they opened a second Sugar Hill at 5627 Ames Ave., after selling the grocery and first liquor store.
The family still owns the Ames Avenue store.
“He was still working there seven days a week in January 2012,” Westbrook-Davis said. “He loved talking and giving advice to his customers and friends. He loved giving out his wisdom.”
Westbrook “always wanted to be a part of history,” she said. So he was in the crowd for the 1995 Million Man March, the 2000 Million Family March, the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama and the 2011 dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, all in Washington, D.C.
Besides Westbrook's daughter, other survivors include his wife of 59 years, Lucille; daughters Lovell Ellington of Memphis, Tenn., Linda Dodd of Chicago and Cynthia Gibbs of Omaha; sons Floyd Westbrook Jr. of Memphis, Caresley Toney of Omaha, R.E. Toney of Omaha, Lonnie Mills of Orlando, Fla., and Lavern Jackson of Omaha; 31 grandchildren; 56 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great grandchildren.
Funeral services will begin at 1 p.m. Friday at Salem Baptist Church, 3131 Lake St.
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