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Published: Wednesday, 3/24/2010

Engineer appeared in Toledo Ballet


Alexander Cytrynowicz, 87, a retired partner and director in the engineering firm now called SSOE Group who, in the 1960s, took part in Toledo Ballet productions, died March 4 at his West Toledo apartment.

He was in declining health the last five years, his daughter, Debra, said.

Mr. Cytrynowicz, a civil engineer, retired in 1987. During much of his 34-year career with the former Samborn, Steketee, Otis & Evans, architects and engineers, he managed the civil and structural engineering departments.

He saw his work as turning the artistic vision of architects into reality, his daughter said. "A building could be more of a work of art to him than a sculpture," she said.

He was adept at recognizing talent, said Dennis Wisebaker, a retired SSOE senior vice president and owner, who first worked for the firm in 1968 as a University of Toledo student. "Alex hired a lot of people who eventually became partners there," Mr. Wisebaker said.

He told his student charges that classes came first and allowed them flexible schedules. And he lunched regularly with them.

"Alex was humble. You could talk with him about anything," Mr. Wisebaker said. "He was quite a guy."

His daughter was 2 when she began taking ballet, "and somewhere along the line, everyone else joined in."

Mr. Cytrynowicz's wife, Florence, became a backstage director. He appeared in The Nutcracker and as the duke in Giselle - roles that called for ballroom, not ballet, steps. He appeared in ballet productions until his daughter graduated from high school in 1970.

Born in Mahanoy City, Pa., he was a 1941 graduate of the public high school there. He was an apprentice of his father's in a coal mine.

At the start of World War II, he worked in a Maryland ammunition factory. Later, he was in the Army Air Corps and flew a B-29 on incendiary bombing missions over Tokyo, his daughter said.

He received a degree in civil engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

He'd been a member of St. Pius X and St. Patrick of Heatherdowns parishes.

He and his wife, Florence, married in 1951. She died Feb. 28, 2003.

Surviving are his daughter, Debra Cytrynowicz, sons, Mark and Jon Cytrynowicz, brother, Daniel Cytrynowicz, six grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Mr. Cytrynowicz's body was donated to the University of Toledo medical school, the former Medical College of Ohio.

Services will be private. The family suggests tributes to VFW Ohio Charities.

Contact Mark Zaborney at


or 419-724-6182.

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