Past Chief Commander John Theodore Alter passed away peacefully on June 20, 2023, in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with his loving wife, Judy, and family at his side.
He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. John lived an active and busy life. He worked for Ohio Bell Telephone Co. for 30 years; served as usher at St. Richard Catholic Church in North Olmstead, Ohio; worked for United Way for five years; assisted in the Moore County, North Carolina, Senior Enrichment Center; and enjoyed time with family and friends while boating, golfing and socializing.
John was very active in United States Power Squadrons, serving as chief commander in 2012–2013. Prior to that, he served as squadron and district commander in Ohio’s Toledo and Rocky River squadrons. He taught classes and assisted members and future leaders. Shortly after moving to North Carolina in 1998, he and Judy joined Raleigh Sail & Power Squadron/27 (America’s Boating Club of Raleigh).
His involvement with the Raleigh squadron is where we caught our first glimpse of John—the person, the mentor and the friend. We were somewhat in awe that this person was a member of our squadron and chief commander as well, but John never let his rank interfere with relationships. We remember how after in-person and Zoom meetings, John would always approach leadership and members with words of appreciation, wisdom and humor.
During the years, we saw him as a smart man, a wise mentor, a funny man, and a man of remarkable talent and vision. He would always “tell it like it is” in such a way that we would know what to do next. He made difficult tasks seem easy, he made protocols realistic, he made obstacles small, he made meetings and events memorable, he made events fill with laughter and he made future leaders who will continue his legacy.
The list of John’s impact could go on, but John was always one to be brief with his witty one-liners and responses, and we will continue that part of his legacy here. Perhaps it is best to say that we were blessed to know him as a leader and friend and to have had him in our lives as a dear friend and vital part of United States Power Squadrons.