Allan “Al” Ackroyd, age 90, was born on August 16, 1926 in Windsor, Ontario to Dorcas and William Ackroyd, immigrants of Scotland. Al spent his childhood in Windsor with his siblings Silas, Lloyd, and Ethel. He met the love of his life and devoted supporter, Betty at Windsor Arena, a roller rink, in 1941. The two were married in 1947 and immigrated to the United States the following year, joining Al’s siblings in Detroit. Al and Silas opened Ackroyd’s Meat Market in 1949, which evolved into Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery.
Al has left behind an incredibly strong legacy in the business, but he was a family man before anything else. Al loved Betty like crazy. Being together for over 70 years, their relationship was built on a foundation of love and understanding. The strong love they shared was evident, even in his last days. They would finish each other’s sentences, work as team putting together their breakfast each morning, read the paper together, and squabble over minor details in stories or what route someone should drive, which ultimately didn’t change the outcome (but was entertaining to listen to nonetheless).
He treasured being able to work closely with and pass the torch on to his son, Allan. He loved heading to Alpena to spend time golfing on the lake with his daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Tom Bendzinski. He took much happiness in watching the joy his granddaughters Kara (Madion), Megan and Christine (Curtis) took from swimming in their backyard pool, gobbling up his special grilled ribs and learning the “Bean Bag” game from him, long before it was a popular yard game. He was proud of their accomplishments throughout their lives. In their adult years, he was thrilled to meet and bond with each great-grandchild “the girls” brought into the family. Nate (13), Colleen (11), Cady (10), Maisie (7), Reed (3), and Forrest (19 months) were all lucky to have been able to know their “GG”. He delighted in their presence, as they delighted in his, especially on the day-after Thanksgiving when he would make his family-famous Clam Chowder soup.
He truly loved spending time with friends and family. His favorite moments included golfing in his Glenhurst Golf League (which he started in 1960 and still lives on), going to Michigan State football games with Betty, Carol, Tom, Allan, and his daughter-in-law Maryellen, and watching the Tigers, Lions, golf and any MSU sport on TV from his favorite chair in their living room. He always enjoyed his and Betty’s annual 4th of July party, which brought together their friends and family from all around Michigan and Canada. Al relished in giving the family dogs lots of snuggles, love and food scraps, and the admiration was mutual.
Al was known for his sly, quick, dry wit. He loved giving people a hard time in a humorous, loving way, whether friends, family or strangers. His humor would become drier when he would indulge in his favorite drink, Canadian Club with a splash of Diet Coke and water. He enjoyed sipping one while sitting next to Betty from their high-rise balcony in Clearwater Beach, FL, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and searching for dolphins jumping out of the water and taking in the amazing sunsets.
Customers and employees of Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery enjoyed Al’s droll sense of humor as well. Now nearing seventy years of business, it is a cornerstone of the metro Detroit Scottish community and beyond. When the bakery was spoken of fondly, Al’s face would light up. It was an incredible source of his pride. Even up to this year, Al and Betty would pop in to the bakery to make sure things were running up to his standards. He loved hearing the praise customers happily and frequently offered up. It really is a testament to Al’s business acumen that the bakery is operating today under the direction of his son Allan and granddaughter Megan. The most important part of family business is family and Al certainly knew that.
He will be sorely missed by his wife and family. Al is survived by his wife Betty (Simpson), daughter Carol (Tom) Bendzinski, son Allan (Maryellen), 3 granddaughters and 6 great-grandchildren.