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Published: Saturday, 5/2/2009

Manager at Nabisco took pride in his work

William L. Adler, a retired manager of the Nabisco flour mill in East Toledo who helped plan an expansion of the plant, died of congestive heart failure yesterday in Swan Creek Retirement Village, where he had lived about 17 years. He was 95.

Mr. Adler had long-term sight problems, and lost his remaining vision several years ago when he was struck by a car while crossing the street, according to his niece, Sharon Gearing.

He left his South Toledo home to become one of the earliest Swan Creek residents. He moved from independent living to assisted living when he became blind.

Mr. Adler retired as manger of Nabisco's Front Street mill on Oct. 25, 1974, a day after ground was broken for a multimillion-dollar mill designed to handle even more grain than the 76-year-old facility it was to replace.

The old mill was touted as one of the nation's largest processors of soft winter wheat.

"He was very proud of that," his niece said. He was involved from the start in planning the project.

In 1973, Mr. Adler oversaw an expansion of the mill's truck grain receiving facilities to ease delivery to Nabisco's massive elevator complex.

He believed in working hard, earning what you received, and saving, Ms. Gearing said.

"He was just very well-respected wherever he went," his niece said. "He always listened."

Mr. Adler did like things to go his way, she said, so "he really enjoyed what he was doing, and he enjoyed being in a management position."

He served multiple terms as president of the Toledo Board of Trade.

Mr. Adler was born in Toledo. After his father died and his mother remarried, he moved with his family to Walbridge. He was a 1931 graduate of Lake High School.

He was a 1935 graduate of the University of Toledo.

"He wanted to become a lawyer, but he had trouble with his eyes way back when," his niece said. "For whatever reason, he did not pursue the career in law."

Mr. Adler was hired in 1936 by what was then the National Biscuit Co. as a messenger at the Front Street mill. He served stateside in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

He became a cashier at Nabisco in 1947 and five years later was an assistant manager-in-training. He was sent to Cheney, Wash., in 1952 to be manager of a Nabisco mill. He was a director of the North Pacific Grain Dealers Association while there.

Mr. Adler returned to Toledo in 1956 and became manager of the Nabisco mill.

He was a former deacon, elder, and council member at St. Mark Lutheran Church. He was formerly on the board of regents of Capital University, a Lutheran-affiliated school.

He liked to garden and, after moving to Swan Creek, he bought and planted flowers in pots near the main entrance. He also was on the gardening and grounds committee.

He did not marry. His mother lived with him until her death. He later looked in on elderly relatives.

"He was one of the kindest men you ever met," his niece said. "He was very gentlemanly."

Mr. Adler was a Mason and a member of Fort Industry Lodge, F&AM.

He was a member of the foundations of Capital University, Ohio Presbyterian Services, and St. Luke's Hospital.

There are no immediate survivors.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Walter Funeral Home, where visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Tributes are suggested to the Swan Creek Life Care Fund.



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