May 8—TEMPERANCE — Walter C. "Bill" Alexander, who for years kept the wood lanes at a leading West Toledo bowling center in prime condition and found his skill in demand at other alleys across the tri-state region, died May 1 in ProMedica Toledo Hospital. He was 86.
He had a stroke, said his daughter, Brenda Jurgenson.
Mr. Alexander retired in 2000 from Jug's Bowling Center on Jackman Road, where he worked more than 40 years.
"He was like my second dad. He was the guy who showed me the ropes in the bowling alley," said Steve Jakubowski, 59, co-owner and manager of Jug's, which was founded by his father, Robert, and his grandfather Raymond Jakubowski.
"He made Jug's what it is today," Mr. Jakubowski said of Mr. Alexander.
Mr. Alexander was a coworker of Bob Jakubowski at the former Teledyne CAE plant and started at Jug's as a mechanic. He in time became a manager.
"There was only one way he did things — the correct way," the younger Mr. Jakubowski said. "It takes three of us to do what he did by himself. He was one of a kind. Bill was so talented mechanically."
Mr. Alexander was known for his expertise in maintaining wood bowling lanes. Bowling centers in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana requested his services.
"His grandpa was a carpenter, and his grandpa taught him a lot of the skills he had," his daughter said.
Mr. Alexander also taught junior bowling for a time at Jug's and started a youth league, Mr. Jakubowski said.
A bowler himself — he rolled three 300 games — he enjoyed the camaraderie of Jug's.
"He was a social animal and was full of love and laughter," his daughter said.
Jug's patrons and coworkers knew he'd listen and offer sound advice.
"He touched a lot of people," Mr. Jakubowski said.
Mr. Alexander was a 2003 inductee of the Greater Toledo Bowling Association Hall of Fame, which honored him for meritorious service.
He often had two or more jobs as his young family grew, from driving for Pepsi to working at Teledyne. He built his first house and then built two more.
As a retiree, he did heating and cooling and sheet-metal work for a friend and took on other tasks for family.
He rode motorcycles in boyhood and later was a snowmobile enthusiast. He went deer hunting in northern Michigan and was a former president of the Great Northern Sportsman Club in Whiteford Township.
The garden he and his wife, Barbara, cultivated was a stop at least twice on the Bedford Garden Club tour.
"My mom and dad were perfectionists. Their yard was paradise," their daughter said.
"I was proud of him from the time I was a little girl," she said. "I knew I was protected and safe. What stands out to me and always did was the respect he treated my mother with."
He was born Sept. 19, 1934 to Garnett Sipe Alexander and Walter Alexander and grew up in Lambertville, where the family ran Walt's Place, a tavern, from 1940 until the late 1990s.
He was a 1952 graduate of Bedford High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track. He was voted the football team's most valuable player his senior year and was the basketball team's leading scorer. He was class president.
He was among six inductees in 2003 to the Bedford High School Hall of Fame.
"It feels good to get in with some elite people," Mr. Alexander told The Blade then.
He was preceded in death by sons Tony, Chuck, and Tom Alexander.
Surviving are his wife, the former Barbara Machando, whom he married Dec. 10, 1953; daughter, Brenda Jurgenson; son, Bill Alexander; 12 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday in Urbanski's Bedford Funeral Chapel, Temperance, where funeral services will begin at noon.