ELLISTON, Ohio -- Keith A Bowersox, a longtime history teacher at Oak Harbor High School who was the booming "Voice of the Rockets" during basketball and football games, died Thursday in his home. He was 79.
He had heart and lung problems and was in declining health the last two months, his wife, Alice, said.
Mr. Bowersox retired in 1988, but he was a substitute teacher for a few years afterward, said Jeff Schumaker, a retired high school mathematics teacher.
"He was well-liked by his colleagues and respected," he said.
His students looked forward to his class, said Keith Thorbahn, high school principal since 2005 and a student of Mr. Bowersox's in the early 1980s.
"You could tell he really enjoyed teaching kids," Mr. Thorbahn said. "He had a sense of humor about him that was not always traditional. You had to listen carefully to get some of the jokes.
"You knew every day was going to be an adventure. He understood the material, and at times it was almost as though he could take you to that time period. You could sense you were there."
Mr. Bowersox was a natural performer and enjoyed an audience, his wife said. "As a teacher, well, the audience wasn't going to go away," she said.
He was an assistant principal for a few years, but he missed the classroom and returned to teaching.
Mr. Bowersox could project his low distinctive voice with little effort and scarcely needed a microphone as public address announcer for Oak Harbor games.
"Here's that audience again," she said. "He could say it how he wanted to say it."
He didn't sing publicly, not even in church, but he was a regular presence in 2010 at community gatherings in Elliston to cheer on his granddaughter Crystal during her nail-biting ride to the 2010 American Idol finals.
"He was very proud of her," his wife said. "And he would be quick to say he was proud of all of his grandchildren too."
He was born Oct. 10, 1932, in Fremont to Lillian and Lester Bowersox. He was a 1950 graduate of Fremont Ross High School.
He worked for Whirlpool in Clyde, Ohio, until he was drafted at the end of the Korean War. He was an Army tech inspector with a helicopter unit and served in South Korea.
A veteran with a wife and children, he went to Bowling Green State University under the GI Bill and received a bachelor's degree. He taught in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, and in Fremont before he was hired at Oak Harbor High. He later returned to BGSU for a master's degree.
His interest in genealogy sparked his interest in history. He'd traced the arrival in North America of the Bauersachs -- the original spelling -- to the mid-1700s. He was a member of Bauersachs International Genealogical Society and went to U.S. reunions and a 1979 gathering in Germany.
Surviving are his wife, Alice, whom he married April 25, 1953; sons, Alan, William, and Paul; daughter, Elaine Bowersox; 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. Sunday at Crosser Funeral Home, Oak Harbor. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Peter Lutheran Church at Blackberry Corners, where he was a longtime member -- and played the voice of God in skits. The family suggests tributes to the church.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.