The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said goodbye to a Pennsylvania hospitality industry pioneer last week.

Board member Ahmeenah Young passed away on Friday June 2, 2017 in her Philadelphia home. Friends told the press the first African American and first female president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Convention Centerwas being treated for cancer. She was 69 years old.

Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Young to the Gaming Control Board for a three-year term as a commissioner on October 7, 2016. The Board oversee all aspects of the PA casino industry.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague,” said Gaming Control Board Chairman David Barasch. “Ahmeenah was a valued member of the Board and she will be sorely missed. Her warmth, quick wit, kindness to all and ability to contribute to the Gaming Control Board’s casino oversight role in a meaningful way will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.”

A Philadelphia native

Young was born, raised, and lived her entire life in Philadelphia. She was a graduate of Maria Goretti High School and Temple University.

Young will likely be best remembered for her time with the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. In fact, she held several posts there. She directed the Convention Center’s affirmative-action team in the late 1980s. Plus, the Convention Center promoted Young to president and CEO during its $787 million expansion.

Young held the job from September 2008 through December 2013. She left only after the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority decided to hire private management.

She also spent time working as a headhunter in the hospitality industry.

In reality, Young barely had enough time with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make a huge impact. However, she still manged to make her presence felt.

“Ahmeenah’s death is a heartbreak for her family and a great loss to the Gaming Control Board,” Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole said. “During the brief time she served on the Board, I and our employees in the agency greatly appreciated her wisdom and valuable opinions on matters that came before the Board.”

A lifelong social activist

Young will also be remembered as a lifelong social activist. She spent time working for the American Friends Service Committee, the Mental Health Consortium in West Philadelphia, and the Expansion Art Project Committee.

Plus, she also served on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, and boards and committees including:

  • African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • Hahnemann University Hospital
  • Philadelphia International Airport Advisory Committee
  • Temple University School of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
  • Philadelphia Eagles Oversight Committee for Affirmative Action

At the time of her appointment to the Gaming Control Board, Gov. Wolf claimed Young’s “business acumen, vast experience, and commitment to serving her community” would make her “a natural fit” for the board.

Plus, he said he was confident she would “serve the people of Pennsylvania with integrity and honesty.”

There is no word on a replacement yet.