William L. Bondy, 88, a former commissioner and firefighter for the city of Toledo who was a decorated war veteran, died yesterday at a relative's home in Oregon.
He had been in declining health for two years with heart and lung conditions, said his wife, Ethel Bondy.
Mr. Bondy served more than 25 years in the Toledo Fire Department, from the end of World War II to his hiring in late 1971 as commissioner of the city's motor vehicle division.
Inspired to become a firefighter by his father-in-law, former Fire Chief Karl Scheidler, Mr. Bondy rose through the department's ranks as he had through those of the Ohio National Guard.
From fire captain he was promoted in 1968 to district chief in the maintenance shop. Mrs. Bondy said her husband enjoyed the inherent challenges and the camaraderie involved in firefighting, but most important, the opportunity to save lives.
Later, as Toledo's motor vehicle commissioner, Mr. Bondy was responsible for every facet of the city's vehicle fleet, from repairs to purchasing. He retired from that job in 1981, and worked three years as a consultant on vehicle fleet management and maintenance for the Seaway Food Town grocery chain.
William Bondy was born in Toledo in 1920 as the only child of Lawrence and Imus Bondy. He attended Sherman School, where he met a kindergarten classmate, Ethel Scheidler, who became his wife in 1941.
He graduated from Woodward High School in 1937, and studied engineering at the University of Toledo before heading off to war with the 37th Division of the Ohio National Guard.
During the war Mr. Bondy spent 39 months in the Pacific Theater, including 600 days without rest. He was in a communications company that, among other duties, was responsible for laying phone wires that connected soldiers on the front lines with commanders in the rear. "They were on the front lines quite a bit. They would have been some of the very first [U.S. troops] to land," his son-in-law, Robert Marquette, said.
A highlight of his experience was his involvement in the freeing of U.S. soldiers from Bilibad prison when American forces liberated the Philippines from the Japanese.
Mr. Bondy received many medals for his service, including the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars with a "V" device, three major assault landing ribbons with stars, and two presidential unit citations, his family said.
After the war, Mr. Bondy and his wife settled in Point Place before moving to South Toledo in 1953.
Mr. Bondy did not retire from reserve military duty until the late 1960s. He had instrumental roles in the organizing of the Retired Officers' Association of Toledo and the Toledo-area chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
"My dad loved his country, and that was some of the reason he did the things he did," his daughter, Cheryl Marquette, said.
The Bondys moved in 1992 to Bradenton, Fla., where Mr. Bondy enjoyed playing golf.
Surviving are his wife, Ethel; daughters, Cheryl Marquette and Linda Bondy Parr; five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
The body will be in the Eggleston-Meinert-Pavley Funeral Home, Oregon, where visitation will be from 10 a.m. until a Last Alarm service to begin at 1 p.m. Friday followed by the funeral service at 2 p.m.
The family suggests tributes to Tidewell Hospice, Sarasota, Fla., or the Congregational United Church of Christ, Bradenton.