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Published: Saturday, 5/26/2012

Gordon Gilbert, 1928-2012: Realtor was a mentor to youngsters who bowled


Gordon Gilbert, a retired real estate agent who listed homes for nearly 25 years and a bowler who was a mentor to youngsters in the sport, died May 2 in a hospice facility in Phoenix. He was 83.

His son John said the cause of death was unknown.

A longtime South Toledo resident, Mr. Gilbert, who was known to friends and family as Gordy, moved to Arizona about two years ago to be closer to his children.

His nearly 25-year career in residential real-estate sales began in the early 1970s at Grogan Realty Inc. He joined Century 21 Americrest in 1979 and sold homes later for another agency before he gradually retired in the late 1990s.

John Gilbert said it is hard to tell how many hundreds of homes his father listed and sold throughout his association with the real-estate firms, adding that he concentrated in Toledo's south end and the Mau­mee area. "He just loved helping people get into their homes. He called it ‘writing up a deal,'?" he said. "He liked working with people. That was his big thing."

Mr. Gilbert attended DeVilbiss High School. His son said Mr. Gilbert played piano and as a young man went into local establishments and substituted for musicians while they were on breaks.

"He would get people up on the dance floor and then he would play. He didn't want any recognition. He just wanted to play," he said.

Mr. Gilbert entered the Army, serving in the Korean War about 1951. His son said he fought with the 3rd Infantry Division,

After the war, Mr. Gilbert returned to Toledo and started a generator repair business called Colony Generator Exchange on Monroe Street near Secor Road.

Mr. Gilbert took up bowling and sponsored teams for many years at Southwyck Lanes. Known as "Pops" in bowling circles, he passed on his knowledge, skills, and love for the sport to his son John and others.

John Gilbert, a championship bowler for several years in the local junior ranks who went on to bowl professionally from 1980 to 1984, said his father introduced him to the sport.

"It was his influence that got me to the pro ranks," he said.

Also touched by Mr. Gilbert was Kevin Taber, who also was a professional bowler. He met Mr. Gilbert while he was bowling with John Gilbert in a youth travel league.

"Pops was like a second father to met. He was there for us all the time. He was really genuine and had a good heart. He put a lot of things in perspective for me. Not only in bowling, but just in life generally," he said.

Mr. Gilbert also took up golf about the time he began his career in real-estate sales, and was a longtime member of Heatherdowns Country Club.

Surviving are his daughters, Karen Gilbert and Sandy Mattson; sons, Ron and John Gilbert; four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services were held in Phoenix on Friday.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo chapter of the American Red Cross.

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