Community volunteer Alesia Mogul dies


Alesia Cruchley Mogul, a community volunteer known for passion for education and service to people with special needs, died Saturday morning after a brief battle with cancer. She was 66.

Born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1947, Mogul was the youngest of three siblings. She and husband Harve Mogul moved from Winston-Salem, N.C. to Miami in 1990 when he was named president and CEO of United Way of Miami-Dade. Alesia soon became involved with the Miami-Dade County Public School System and helped found Our Pride Academy, a school for individuals with developmental disabilities. Over the years, she served in leadership roles on numerous boards and committees, including Our Pride Academy, Goodwill Industries of South Florida, the United Way of Miami-Dade Women’s Leadership Council, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Mailman Center Advisory Council, among many others.

But her greatest joy, said friends, was as a full-time mother to sons, Maxwell, 25, and Elliott, 30. “Her children are her legacy,” said Tamara Klingler, senior vice president of United Way, who first met Mogul the day she moved to Miami.

Friends described Mogul as a compassionate, unselfish, passionate, supportive, and encouraging leader who worked and fought for what she believed in.

Much of her time was dedicated to helping children with disabilities. Though her youngest son, Max, was born with Down Syndrome, Mogul refused to allow his condition to be a limitation, working to see that all children with special needs could have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Cristina Cartaya, the principal at Our Pride Academy, says her and Mogul called each other “soul sisters.”

“You know when you meet someone and you’re just friends for life,” Cartaya said? “It was like that. You met her and you just admired her. She was really something.”

Dressed in her signature style -- a large black hat -- Mogul attended all her son’s track-and-field events at the academy, never missing an event. She helped paint the building before it opened, picked out the chairs for the lobby, and even watered the palm trees. Cartaya said when Mogul became sick, she kept a positive attitude and tried to help in any way she could, contributing ideas for events and calling to make sure plans were proceeding.

“She cared about everything,” Cartaya said. “She did things the right way.... She had so much to do still. You have no idea how much she is going to be missed.”

Mogul also served as presidents of the parent-teacher support organizations for Coral Gables Senior High School and George Washington Carver Middle School. She also supported Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Junior League of Miami and the Schools of Choice and Attendance Boundary Committees.

Dave Lawrence, a childhood education advocate and former Miami Herald publisher and friend for more than 20 years, said Mogul had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.

“I admired her deeply,” he said. “She wanted to help children with special needs, and for two decades, she made that possible. She was a very caring soul. She was a fine human being.”

She is survived by her husband and her two sons; son-in-law Jeffrey E. Sandberg, sister Kathleen Kobus, brother Philip Cruchley and his wife Fay Cruchley, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Arrangements for services are pending. In lieu of flowers, Mogul’s family requests that donations be made to the Alesia Cruchley Mogul Fund at the United Way of Miami-Dade, 3250 SW 3 Ave., or to Our Pride Academy, 10100 SW 107 Ave.

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