BOWLING GREEN - Albert A. Newlove, 86, a stalwart of the Wood County Democratic Party for a half-century and a founder of a prominent real estate business, died Tuesday in Wood County Hospital.
The cause of death was not known. He was at the hospital Monday to undergo surgery, which did not take place, and collapsed.
Republicans typically outnumbered Democrats in Wood County in office holders, if not members. When Mr. Newlove became active in the 1950s, "it was really the minority party," his son, Richard, said.
"He had a very good friend, Lee Knorek from Rossford, and Al and Lee were the beginning of the modern Democratic Party in Wood County," said his son, who later was party vice chairman. Mr. Newlove for decades was party treasurer, a post now held by his grandson, Andrew.
But Mr. Newlove was never chairman, preferring to remain behind the scenes, said Allen Baldwin, a former longtime party chairman.
The party's longtime minority status did not discourage Mr. Newlove, and "he was a part of helping the turnaround," the former chairman said.
Wood County Commissioner Alvie Perkins, for years one of the few Democratic officeholders in the county, recalled that he was doing the plumbing in 1972 on an apartment building Mr. Newlove owned. Mr. Newlove asked him to run for Bowling Green City Council. Mr. Perkins won, later became mayor of Bowling Green, and is the longest-serving commissioner in county history.
"He was a strong Democrat, although he had friends on both sides of the aisle," Mr. Perkins said.
Acts of charity and words of encouragement were offered out of view. "He did a lot of incredible nonpublic stuff - people he took care of and nobody knew about it," Mr. Baldwin said. "He mentored a lot of people."
Mr. Newlove was a former chairman of the Wood County Board of Elections and of the Bowling Green Civil Service Commission. He was a former trustee of Wood County's Plain Township.
At his church, St. Aloysius, he'd been on the school and pastoral boards.
He began Newlove Realty in 1962, several years after he first dabbled in real estate by purchasing properties and renting them out, said his son, now president of the firm. From the early 1970s, he bought downtown buildings and renovated into apartments second and third floors where once were doctors and lawyers offices.
He still came to the office most days, his son said.
Mr. Newlove grew up on a farm in Wood County's Liberty Township, one of nine children. He was a graduate of the former Liberty High School and attended Bowling Green State University.
Six of the seven Newlove boys served in World War II. Al was in the Army in the South Pacific, his son said.
He contracted tuberculosis during the war and spent three years recovering. He then was a foreman at a Maumee business and was employed by the city of Bowling Green.
Mr. Newlove received the Outstanding Citizen Award in 1987 from the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. St. Aloysius named him Catholic of the Year in 1999.
Surviving are his wife, Margaret, whom he married June 29, 1946; son, Richard; daughters, Mary Noll, Debbie Hazard, and Peggy Russell; brother, John; 13 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
The body will be in the Dunn Funeral Home, Bowling Green, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in St. Aloysius Church, Bowling Green.
The family suggests tributes to the Al and Margaret Newlove Scholarship Fund in care of the Bowling Green Schools Foundation.