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Published: Wednesday, 6/27/2007

Ocean captain oversaw grain operations at Port of Toledo

Alfred G. Smith, 84, an ocean captain who settled in Toledo to oversee the loading of grain freighters, died Monday in Foundation Park Care Center.

Mr. Smith, of South Toledo, had Alzheimer's disease.

He retired in 1988 after 26 years as manager of American Grain Trimmers, where he supervised the loading of grain from elevators along the Maumee River into freighters, both lakers and ocean-going ships. He also hired the stevedores to load the freighters.

"He contributed a lot to the Port of Toledo," his daughter, Jane George, said.

His record year was 1976, when 173 grain freighters were loaded under his watch, his wife, Rosaline, said.

"He never had one that wasn't loaded properly," she said. "Sometimes he'd be loading three at a time. He knew exactly what was going in any ship."

The company had offices in Chicago, Duluth, and Toledo because the St. Lawrence Seaway had opened the Great Lakes to ocean ships.

The family entertained visiting captains and officers. Though he no longer sailed the high seas, "we had the world coming to us," his daughter said.

A native of Nova Scotia, he served in World War II on tugboats that helped Allied ships hit by German U-boats. Afterward, he worked for a shipping company and sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He received an unlimited ocean captain's license in 1955.

Mr. Smith was a member of the Maumee River Yacht Club. He and his wife spent summers in Nova Scotia.

Surviving are his wife, Rosaline, whom he married Aug. 6, 1952; daughter, Jane George; sister, Joyce Christie, and two granddaughters.

Services will be private. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Coyle Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the St. Luke's Hospital Foundation or the Alzheimer's Association of Northwest Ohio.

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