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Published: Tuesday, 7/28/2009

Postmaster and barber was in WWII

Leonard B. Alt, a former Genoa and Perrysburg postmaster and World War II veteran who lived in Pemberville, died Sunday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Toledo. He was 81.

His wife, Sally Alt, said he suffered melanoma and congestive heart failure.

Mr. Alt was born in New Washington in north central Ohio and was one of five children. The family operated Alt's Restaurant.

At age 15, Mr. Alt traveled to Cleveland with eight friends and lied about his age to enlist in the military.

In the end, Mr. Alt was the only one in the group accepted.

Mr. Alt was in the U.S. Maritime and Coast Guard, and sailed on three Liberty ships. At the end of the war, his ship was the first merchant vessel to arrive at Yokahama Harbor in Japan.

He knew his brother Benny was stationed in Japan, and Mr. Alt traveled the length of the country to find him.

"My dad always said, 'We had a good cry,'•" when they were reunited, his son Dan said.

In 1950, Mr. Alt moved from New Washington to Genoa with his first wife, Grace Graham.

He opened Alt's Barber Shop on Main Street in Genoa and worked as a barber there until 1968.

He was also postmaster in Genoa and Perrysburg.

"He really blossomed into that career," his son John said.

After retiring Mr. Alt became a real estate agent and auctioneer, working with Paul Sargent Associates, Sulphur Springs, and Home Town real estate groups.

"He loved it," Mrs. Alt said. "I always told him he loved running his mouth as an auctioneer."

Mr. Alt enjoyed bowling and golfing, and he traveled extensively.

He was well known in Pemberville as "The Bicycle Man" because he biked so many places.

He was a member of Blessed John XXIII Catholic Community, a former Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus in Genoa, a past president of Genoa Kiwanis, and a member of the Genoa Park Board. He volunteered at the St. Louis Soup Kitchen in Toledo.

He was involved with the Genoa Civic Theater and acted in several plays, including Arsenic and Old Lace and The Odd Couple.

"He was involved in just about anything. If something was out there, he just wanted to do it," Mrs. Alt said. "He was kind of a free spirit."

Surviving are his wife, Sara "Sally" Alt; daughter Susan; sons Thomas, Daniel, John, and Robert; step-daughters Terie Dotson and Julie Swords; stepson, Nick Challen; sister, Doris Kaple; and 16 grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 7-9 p.m. tomorrow in the Marsh Funeral Home, Pemberville, with a vigil service at 8:30 p.m.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in Blessed John XXIII Community Church, Perrysburg, with visitation from 10 to 11 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Blessed John XXIII, or St. Louis Soup Kitchen.

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