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Albert Lionel Joyner was born February 3, 1946 in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, to Frances and Hercules Joyner passed away in Jackson, Mississippi on June 3, 2015.  Albert’s early childhood education was completed on the campus of Tuskegee Institute for pre-K, nursery school, elementary school, and high school.  In high school, Joyner was class president his senior year and most valuable player in the state championship basketball team. He graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1969 with a bachelor’s of science degree in physical education with a minor in physical science.   While in college he became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and later turned that support into a life membership.

A 43 year veteran of the McDonald’s restaurant system, in 1972 Joyner became the first Black franchisee of a major fast food chain in Alabama. Known for his frankness and wit, the Tuskegee Institute graduate and Alabama native expanded his McDonald’s holdings to several McDonald’s restaurants in the Jackson Mississippi market.

A pioneer in many ways, he was among the first McDonald’s owner-operators to have a Play land in his restaurant, and he developed and opened the first face-to-face drive-thru in the McDonald’s system.  He was the first Black McDonald’s owner-operator in the Mobile and Birmingham area and is considered the first African-American to purchase and develop a major shopping center in the state.

On October 20, 1978 he married the former Danita Ely of Mobile, Ala., who became his business partner in McDonald’s restaurants and is a McDonald’s franchisee.

He is a past president of the McDonald’s Great Southern Region Black McDonald’s Operators Association.  Al was a former member of the Board of Trustees of: The Tom Joyner Foundation and Tuskegee University.  A member of the Jackson Country Club, Century Club Charities, The Robert Morgan Society, Jackson State University Tiger Fund, Butler Chapel AME, Tuskegee, Alabama, the Greater Jackson Partnership and other business organizations.  In 1980, Al joined the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association where he was always the life of the party on the annual Joe Cain Sunday boat ride.  Al was instrumental in establishing a charter for First Tee of Jackson, a group to share their interest and love of golf with children. In the fall of 1965, Albert Joyner was initiated into The Lambda Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.  He is a life member of The Sigma Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Montgomery, Alabama. Through his wife Danita, Al was a connecting Link to The LeFleur’s Bluff (MS) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

Albert was a fervent family man and is survived by his wife, Danita, and four children – Michael, Allison, Danielle and Albert Jr.  He is also survived by his brother, Thomas Joyner, Sr., and nephews Thomas Joyner, Jr (LaToy) and Oscar Joyner (Alem) all of Dallas, Texas.  Two aunts Martha Mansker and Helen Cochran both of Gary, Indiana.  Mother-in-law, Ethel Moore, Step Father-In-Law, Richard Moore, Brother-In-Law, Rayford Crook (Elaine), two Sisters-In-Law, Charlotte Morrissette, (Wilton) of Mobile,  Alabama, Monica Means, (Robert) of Huntsville, Alabama, many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Albert L. Joyner’s Funeral Arrangements for Jackson, Mississippi will be held on

Monday, June 8, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

Omega Service at 9:30a.m.

Anderson United Methodist Church

6205 Hanging Moss Road

Jackson, MS  39206

Funeral Arrangements for Tuskegee, Alabama will be held on

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 1:00p.m.

Omega Service at 12:00 p.m.

Tuskegee University Chapel

1200 West Montgomery Road

Tuskegee, Alabama

*Family requests in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Al Joyner Memorial Scholarship Fund, benefiting students at Tuskegee University, his alma mater.

Donations can be made online here

Or mail donations to

Tom Joyner Foundation

c/o Al Joyner Memorial Scholarship Fund

13760 Noel Road, Suite 750

Dallas, Texas  75240


Remembering Albert “Al” Joyner
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(photos courtesy of the Joyner family)