Dr. Alvin Zohn, whose dedication to the profession of optometry was matched only by his love of family and Point Place, died Thursday at Waterford Commons in Perrysburg.
He was born June 20, 1925, in Toledo. His childhood education was at Sherman Elementary School and Scott High School, where he played the violin in the school orchestra as well as the Toledo Youth Orchestra. Known for his integrity, even as a youngster, he was the only neighborhood child trusted to run errands for the local nuns. As a teenager, he was an Eagle Scout and served as an adult Scout leader for Troop 11.
Dr. Zohn earned his doctor of optometry degree from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry cum laude in 1949. He opened his first optometry office, in early 1950, next to the old Shoreway Movie Theater on Summit Street in Point Place. In 1960, Alvin moved his growing practice to 5426 N. Summit Street becoming a fixture of everyday life in Point Place for decades. After more than 60 years in the profession, Al finally retired in 2011.
One of the greatest joys of his life was practicing optometry with his son, Michael. Al's service leadership inspired Michael to follow in his footsteps, even graduating from the same optometry school 30 years after his father. Al and Michael formed a loving partnership serving Point Place until Michael's untimely death in 2008.
The elder Dr. Zohn's spirit of community service was a personal mission and a great source of personal pride. For many years he volunteered his time at the old Lutheran Orphans and Old Folks Home, donating eye examinations and making adjustments in glasses for the residents. He also volunteered his services as an optometrist for inmates in the Toledo Correctional Institute. He was always committed to helping those who were less fortunate.
He taught eye care for many years as a member of the faculty of Owens Community College. He became a member of the Point Place Business Association in 1950 and was elected its president in 1958. He later served on the board of VSP and the Toledo Eye Center.
Alvin served not only his community, but he also served his country during World War II. He enlisted in the United States Army in June 1943, 17 days short of his 18th birthday, and entered active duty that November.
He spent much of his active duty time in a field artillery battalion serving as the chief cook for front-line troops in Europe. Later in life, Al often boasted of his U.S. Army cooks and bakers certification to anyone willing (or not willing) to listen. He was discharged from the service in 1946 with the rank of Tec 4. His awards included the World War II Victory Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theater Ribbon, and the EAME Theater Ribbon.
Alvin was an Army vet and a lifelong sailor, a touch of irony in a life well lived. He was a long-time member of North Cape Yacht Club, where he frequently cruised his 32-foot sailboat, "Gem-N-I." For many years he was the acting house chairman and de facto grill master, known by everyone as Al Zohn, The Steak Guy.
Well into his 80's, Al maintained an active life that included racket ball, daily calisthenics, and frequent travel which culminated in fulfilling his lifetime wish of visiting Israel.
He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Jane; his sister, Jeanettte Nadoff; son, Jerry Zohn; daughter-in-law, Beth Zohn; step-daughter, Barbara Ward; grandsons, Justin (Monika) Zohn, Stephen (Laura) Zohn, Erik Zohn, Brandon Ward, Jonathan Ward, Thomas Ward, Brian Gomersall, Amber Mires, and Josh Steele. He will be deeply missed by his great-grandchildren, Forrest, Ivan, Hadyn, Dylan, and Corbin; as well as his great-great grandchildren and many loving nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Alvin was preceded in death by his parents, Julius and Rose (Bergman) Zohn; his brother, Jack Zohn; and his son, Michael.
Services will be Sunday, June 6, at 11 a.m. at Temple Shomer Emunim, with burial at Historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
Arrangements by the Robert H. Wick Funeral Home, (419) 535-5840.
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Jewish Family Services of Toledo
Sylvania Avenue, Sylvania OH 43560
Hospice of Northwest Ohio
30000 East River Road, Perrysburg OH 43551