Cover photo for William Alexander's Obituary
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1942 William 2023

William Alexander

May 28, 1942 — February 14, 2023

William John Alexander (Bill) was born to Samuel John Alexander and Betty Ruth Alexander (nee Kruse) in Aurora, Illinois.  He grew up in West Chicago, Illinois, where his mother’s parents, August (Pete) and Myrtle Kruse, owned Kruse’s Market, a grocery store. Bill’s father and grandfather, John Alexander, were engineers on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, where Bill also worked many summers.

After graduating from West Chicago High School he attended Grinnell College, but finished at Northern Illinois University with a degree in History and a minor in Psychology.

In 1966, Bill married Catherine (Kitty) Pape who he met at Grinnell College.  They had two children:  Timothy Eastburn Alexander and Jessica Montgomery Alexander.

Bill moved to the Quad Cities in 1971 to accept a position managing the Media Services Center at Scott Community College. He later went back to school at the University of Iowa where he earned a master’s degree (and twenty hours toward a Doctorate) in Instructional Design and Technology.  

He left the program in 1987 to accept a position in the San Diego area as Associate Dean of Instructional Resources at Southwestern College.  There he met Maryellene Deason, a career development counselor at the college.  They married in 1993 and spent thirty years enjoying a rich life of art appreciation and world travels.  He worked at the college for many years, first as a Dean then as an instructor before retiring in 2001.

Bill had a lifelong interest in reading, books and libraries.  Bill served on the Chula Vista Public Library Board beginning in 1990 and was involved in the construction of the Legorretta-designed South Chula Vista Branch Library.  He oversaw the Southwestern College library, and with the help of Librarian Ron Vess and his son Tim, he designed and built an award-winning interactive library orientation program.

Bill was an avid photographer from a young age.  He studied photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He also worked as a camera repairman at Altman Camera in downtown Chicago.  In later years, he quickly transitioned to digital photography and worked extensively in panoramic images.  Some contained thousands of separate photos and prints could be ten feet in length.

Bill loved movies.  He filmed and edited both personal and professional movies.  He was especially proud of his complex home theatre where he loved to screen movies for family and friends.

He worked in education throughout his career, teaching both at the high school and college level.  Most of his work involved managing community college media centers where he built film and photography studios, editing labs, and computer centers. He was very athletic, running in high school and playing college golf.  He began running again after 40 and was proud of completing many Bix 7 races in Davenport, Iowa.

Bill was an early adopter of a wide range of technologies.  He was doing assembler programming at home in 1985 before most people had heard of personal computers.

Most of all, he was great fun and loved to relax with family and friends.  He was a very smart, generous, and caring man who will be greatly missed.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Connie Alexander who died a few days after birth. He is survived by his wife, Maryellene Deason, of San Diego and children Tim Alexander (Jennifer Alexander) of St. Louis, Missouri and Jess Alexander (Steven Miller) in Madison, Wisconsin.

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