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Published: Saturday, 12/22/2001

Ex-engineer once headed boards of school, library

William P. Sanzenbacher, a longtime Toledo engineer whose firm worked on interstate highways and the Ohio Turnpike and who was a former president of the Toledo board of education and the Toledo library board, died Monday in a Lafayette, Calif., residential care center. He was 91.

He had a heart condition and had been in poor health for about six years, his son Robert said.

Mr. Sanzenbacher was managing partner and later senior partner of Sanzenbacher, Miller, Troy & Dansard, an engineering and architectural firm, retiring in the early 1970s. The firm is now Dansard Grohnke Long Ltd.

He moved to Walnut Creek, Calif., in 1978, resigning his post as Sylvania Township representative to the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority board of directors and as vice chairman of the Ohio Rail Transportation Authority, a seat to which he was appointed by Gov. James A. Rhodes.

He was a civil engineer by education and practice, and his firm was known for its design of industrial and public buildings and public works projects, including highways.

The Toledo Technical Council in 1964 named him its engineer of the year, “which is a distinguished honor,” Gary Long, chairman of Dansard Grohnke Long, said. “I liked Bill and I thought he was a good, solid engineer and I think the [engineering] community accepted that as well.”

William C. Turnbull, an engineer and friend, said, “Bill had the highest esteem of his peers. He was an absolutely marvelous guy. It was his ethics and his intelligence.”

Mr. Sanzenbacher was a former president of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and an Ohio director of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

A graduate of Scott High School, he was a former president of the Toledo school board. He succeeded the late Paul Block, Jr., then co-publisher of The Blade, as president of the then Toledo Public Library board in 1964.

He was appointed by former Mayor Michael Damas as chairman of the citizens capital improvements and finance committee. He was a past chairman of the Toledo Port Development Committee.

He was a director of the former United Savings and Loan Association.

“He really did stay busy, and he used to tell me, `You can never know too many people,'” his son said. “He enjoyed being involved in things.

“He was very honest and fair. He was fairly articulate. Being an engineer, one has to be fairly precise. He was easy to know and unpretentious.”

Mr. Sanzenbacher was president of an early computer firm, Caltec, Inc.

He was a graduate of the University of Michigan. He was a member of Zenobia Shrine and the Sanford L. Collins Lodge F&AM.

He was a member of the Toledo Club and the Inverness Club.

Mr. Sanzenbacher and his wife, Frances Folger, married Jan. 9, 1937. She died May 29, 1989.

Surviving are his sons, W.S.F. Lawson-Baker and Robert J. Sanzenbacher.

Memorial services in California are pending. Arrangements are by Hull's Walnut Creek Chapel, Walnut Creek.

The family requests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.



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