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Published: Saturday, 2/26/2005

Music teacher influenced generations

OTTOVILLE, Ohio - Basil V. Alt, who taught music to hundreds of students in the public school system and privately throughout Putnam County, died Thursday in St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, Ohio. He was 93.

Mr. Alt died of respiratory failure, family members said.

"He taught so many generations of students," said his son, Dave, who is principal of St. Wendelin High School, Fostoria. "You can't go anywhere in Putnam County and find somebody who hasn't taken lessons, or knows somebody who hasn't taken lessons from him."

Mr. Alt was reared on a small, family farm and graduated with just 11 other students from New Washington High School in 1929, then went on to attend the Columbia School of Music in Chicago.

"He went from a small farm to riding on the 'El'[train]," his son said.

Immediately after graduating in 1931 with a bachelor's degree in music, Mr. Alt began a long career in music education.

"He had a unique teaching style," his son said. "He was able to see and appreciate the individual differences in kids."

Mr. Alt began teaching at several schools in the Monroeville, Ohio, area before moving to Delphos, Ohio in the late 1930s, and teaching music at Ottoville Local schools for 25 years. In 1942, he organized a band program at St. John's High School in Delphos.

He received a master's degree in education from Indiana University in 1956.

In 1963, he moved into administration, serving as principal of Grover Hill High School for one year; assistant principal at St. John's until 1968, then principal at Perry Elementary in Lima until 1971. After that, he served as director for pupil personnel for Allen County Schools until 1976, and administrative director of the West Central Regional Resource Center in Wapakoneta, Ohio, for a final year, retiring in 1977.

In 1955, Mr. Alt and several other Ottoville residents started the community-owned and still-viable Ottoville Mutual Telephone Co.

"That was kind of a community service of his," his son said. "He had a lot of wisdom. He would let people talk, the room would get quiet, and then he'd speak. People respected that."

In the 1970s, Mr. Alt served several terms on the Ottoville Board of Education; in 1982, he was elected to the board of the Putnam County Educational Service Center.

The week before Mr. Alt died, he was playing the organ at Immaculate Conception Church in Ottoville, giving private music lessons, serving as vice president of the board of the Putnam County ESC, and president of the telephone firm's board.

Mr. Alt also was a member of the Putnam County Board of Health; Putnam County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board, and Immaculate Conception Church.

Surviving are his wife, Louise; daughter, Cindy Kimmet; sons, David, Darrell, and Don, and 12 grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 6 p.m. today at the Kolkmeyer-Helmkamp-Orians Funeral Home. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Immaculate Conception Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Ottoville EMS, the Putnam County Visiting Nurses, St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Delphos, or the Immaculate Conception Church.

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