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Published: 4/30/2003

Sandusky teacher swam competitively

SANDUSKY - Al Behrendsen, a longtime drafting teacher at Sandusky High School who in retirement became a competitive swimmer, died of heart failure Sunday in Fostoria Community Hospital. He was 72.

Mr. Behrendsen retired in 1984 from the Sandusky City Schools, where he had taught vocational drafting since 1965. Many former students have jobs in drafting, engineering, and related fields, and “he always liked to talk to them and get back together with them,” his son Paul said.

Teaching was “what he wanted to do. It took a while to get there,” his son said.

Mr. Behrendsen was an aviation mechanic in the Navy, serving four years after his 1948 graduation from Townsend High School in Vickery, Ohio. He was a 1957 graduate of Bowling Green State University, from which he received a bachelor of science degree in education. He received a master's of education degree two years later from Ohio University.

Early teaching assignments were in St. Paris, Ohio, and Wooster, Ohio, before his return to northwest Ohio with positions in Tiffin and Pemberville. He always taught industrial arts.

“He always liked mechanical things. He was very mechanically minded,” his son said. “It made sense for him.”

He was a draftsman for Stein, Inc., and made deliveries for Applied Industrial Technology, both of Sandusky, in retirement.

Another retirement activity won him international attention: competitive swimming in Senior Olympics events around North America.

“He'd been involved in swimming in the Navy and took it up again,” his son said.

Mr. Behrendsen won several awards in swimming.

He was a longtime member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Sandusky, and sang tenor in the choir. He was a member of the Society for the Preservation & Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America and took part in barber shop-style singing with the Fostoria Lake Plains Chorus.

He was a member of American Legion Post 83, Sandusky, and its House Committee.

Surviving are his wife, Evelyn, whom he married Sept. 12, 1952; sons, James E. and Paul A. Behrendsen; sister, Lucy Howland; brother, David, and four granddaughters.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 tonight in the Toft Mortuary, Sandusky, with an American Legion service at 6:30 tonight in the mortuary. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Paul Lutheran Church, Sandusky, where visitation will be after 10 a.m.

The family requests tributes to the church, to the YMCA in Sandusky, or to a charity of the donor's choice.



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