Nelson E Alexander (1920 - 2011)

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(NEWS ARTICLE) Nelson E. Alexander, 91, whose marketing skill brought the spotlights of Toledo-based Strong Electric Corp. to the world stage, died of heart failure Thursday in St. Luke's Hospital.

He retired in 1982 as president.

Mr. Alexander of Maumee, a business graduate of Bowling Green State University, was hired in 1950 for Strong's sales department. He helped establish the production control and scheduling department and rose to divisional sales manager, marketing manager, and vice president/general manager.

Strong made arc lamps used in theater film projectors, but also military search lights. A former president, the late Arthur J. Hatch, Jr., received a technical achievement Oscar for a Strong projection lamp.

In the world of live performance, the firm's Super Trouper was the spotlight of choice. Some entertainers specified it by name in their contracts. ABBA named a song and album "Super Trouper."

"Insisting on Super Troupers is like requiring a Steinway piano for a performance," Mr. Alexander told The Blade in 1976. "On numerous occasions, we've flown in emergency orders of spotlights for a harassed stage manager."

Mr. Alexander dealt with the military, with agents, with performers.

"He had the ability to connect with every type of person," his son Kevin said. "He did it through humor. He did it through the ability to teach people just the right amount to break down any barriers. He was a great marketer and always told the truth."

In 1984, the firm's then-parent company closed the Toledo plant and consolidated Strong with an affiliate in Omaha. The company still uses the Strong name in its products.

"He was quietly proud of that," Mr. Alexander's son Kraig said.

Born in Bowling Green, he was a graduate of Bowling Green High School. He was a Navy veteran and served as chief storekeeper aboard the USS Calamares, a supply ship in the South Pacific during World War II.

He and his wife, Betty, were married May 12, 1940. She died July 5.

Surviving are his sons, Kevin and Kraig; sister, Mary Brumbaugh; four grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. tomorrow in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Maumee United Methodist Church, where he was a member.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.
Published in Toledo Blade on Oct. 15, 2011
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