William D. Alkire

Birth Date: 
Friday, July 1, 1927
Date of Passing: 
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

WOOSTER – William D. Alkire, 91, of Wooster passed away on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at West View Healthy Living.

William D. Alkire was born on July 1, 1927 in Steubenville, Ohio, to Richard Houston Alkire and Helen Louise Day Alkire.  He graduated from Milford Center High School in Milford Center, Ohio, in 1946.

Bill spent one year in the U.S. Navy and 7 years in the Naval Air Reserve.  He earned his B.S. in science education (1951) and master’s degree in social work (1957) at the Ohio State University.  There at the Wesley Foundation he met his future wife, Marianne Harvey. They were blessed with two wonderful children, Christine C. Alkire and William H. Alkire.  

Bill Alkire worked briefly for the YMCA in Cleveland and then relocated to Wooster, Ohio, to conduct small-group therapy at Boys’ Village and psychotherapy for the Counseling Center.  As a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), Alkire wrote the plan to create the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Wayne and Holmes Counties (MHRB) in 1968 and served as its first director until his retirement in 1986.

Like the rest of his family, Bill showed a lifelong interest in music and dance.  He and his brothers sang 3-part harmony everywhere they went. Bill sang in the choir at Great Lakes Naval Training and in the Men’s Glee Club at OSU.  With his brother Dave, he performed a yodeling duet on the Ted Mac television show in 1952.

At age 15, Bill began leading play party dances for his Methodist Youth Fellowship in central Ohio. He called his first public square dances while still in high school and worked his way through Ohio State University by teaching ballroom and square dance for Fred Astaire Studios throughout the Columbus area.

In Wooster, Bill founded the Gnat Boxers Square Dance Club and prepared a generation of youth for square dance and square dance calling competitions at the Ohio State Fair.  He introduced contra and English country dance to northeast Ohio, and his monthly old-time square dance ran continuously for 50 years. In 1979, he founded the Cedar Valley Cloggers, a black-shoe performance group that continues today.

Bill was the American dance leader for many years at Oglebay and Maine Folk Dance Camps, Folklore Village, and various Recreation Leaders’ Labs.  For his lifetime service to Buckeye Leadership Workshop, he received an Emeritus Award in 1998.

Bill served on staff at Pinewoods, Mendocino, Dancing Bears of Alaska, Michigan Dance Heritage, Cumberland Lakes, and, in 1994, the Silkeborg Festival in Denmark.  From Kentucky Summer Dance School he received an appreciation award for his service from 1982-1986.

In 1997 he lost his wife Marianne to cancer and then, in 2000, married Susan L. English.  With Susan, he co-founded the Madrigal Dancers, the intergenerational dance program at Terpsichore’s Holiday, and choreographed and performed “Minuet to Macarena” at various locations.  At age 90 Bill was the 2018 recipient of the Lifetime Contribution Award from the national Country Dance and Song Society.

Bill’s other skills and interests included forestry, wood work, basket and broom-making, organic gardening, and story-telling.  Even in his final weeks, Bill continued to bring joy to various caretakers, Hospice volunteers, friends, and family with song, stories, and conversation.

Bill Alkire is survived by his brother David (Judy) Alkire, his wife Susan English, children Christine (Brian) Smedley and William H. “Zeke” Alkire (Sharon and Julie Toth), grandchildren Laura (Matt) Walker, and Rachel (Christopher) Ramos.  His hope for the world lies with his great grandchildren:  Adrian, William, and Wyatt Walker, and Wren Ramos.  He was also predeceased by his parents and  a brother Richard Alkire.

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

Memorial donations can be made to Lifecare Hospice, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster, OH 44691 or Meals on Wheelsof Stark and Wayne Counties, 2363 Nave Rd., SE, Massillon, OH 44646 or the Country Dance and Song Society, 116 Pleasant St., Suite 345, Easthampton, MA 01027-2759  

Friends will be received 1 hour prior and afterwards at the 3:00 p.m. service on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne Co., 3186 Burbank Rd., Wooster with Elaine Strawn and Steve Cook officiating. 

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com.




Friends will be received 1 hour prior to the 3:00 p.m. service at the Church and afterwards


Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne Co., 3186 Burbank Rd., Wooster.


Susan and all family members, We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your loved one. I took lessons from Bill back in the 1980s. He was very kind and so patient with us new dancers. I remember him as being so willing to help if anyone was having problems in dancing. You are in our prayers and that God will give you peace and comfort at this very difficult time.

Barb Flickinger

Dear Susan and family, Bill was one of my most favorite patients over the years! He made everyone around him smile with his contagious personality. We will miss him but so thankful he can lay his earthly burdens down. Thinking and praying for you all at this sensitive time. With Love and my heartfelt condolences. Dawn Maibach

We are sorry for this loss to your family. Bill was certainly full of music and dance and always had a cheerful greeting. We will be unable to attend the visitation time due to a music gig but we will think of him and play a tune in his memory.

Susan and family, We are so sorry to hear about Bill's passing. He was such a wonderful person that always had a big smile and twinkle in his eye. We will miss our chats and his contagious smile.Sending our love and prayers that you may find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Bill brightened the lives of many through music and dance. It was a pleasure to know Bill and he will be greatly missed.

Our love And condolences are with all of you. Uncle Bill is in our hearts and prayers. It is not easy to say farewell to a life long Brother and friend. Love you!!

Dear Susan, I am thinking of you. I am so sorry for your loss. You are very much in my heart and prayers. Bill was one of the most delightful people. I always felt uplifted by him. His joie de vive was very contagious. XO

Susan, so sorry to hear about Bill. My sympathies to you and your family. Besides all of his wonderful accomplishments, Bill brought such joy as he shared his love of music and dance. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with you. Take Care.

Susan, so very sorry. Bill was an important person in the
community and he will be missed. To his children, I send our sympathy
as well. Thank you for being there for him. My sincere sympathy on the loss. What a talented man!

Bill touched many lives with his music, dance, and wit. I'll remember him fondly from Black Hills Recreation Leaders Lab and other labs we attended.

So sorry to hear of Bill's passing. He was a great guy and a good friend. May he rest in peace.

William Alkire will be missed, he was fun to be around.

Susan and family, so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. What a warm and caring person. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him during our time together in speech therapy. Sending you love and light and wishing you peace during this time.

Dear Chris, Zeke, Susan and families. So very sorry to hear this sad news. Know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers. We danced with Bill for many years with the Cedar Valley Cloggers. Such a sweet talented and humble man. He will be missed.

Dear Susan and family,
My heart goes out to you for the loss of your beloved husband and dancing partner, Bill. May the angels of comfort touch all of your hearts. I know Bill will be dancing up in heaven and would want you to keep dancing here on earth. Peace to you all!

I only knew Bill as a dancer and what a great dancer he was, He will be missed.

I am saddened to hear of Bill's passing. I admired Bill's enthusiasm for music and dance, which was prominently on display for many years at Christmas Country Dance School in Berea, where I had the good fortune to interact with him. I hope you plan to keep on dancing and that I will see you in Berea this Christmas. I am sorry that I will be unable to attend the Service on October 7, but please know that I am thinking of you and Bill.

It's always sad when a fellow musicians leaves us, but Heaven adds more greatness to it's group. Cherish your wonderful memories and keep his philosophies alive. His spirit will always be with you and those he touched on his journey through life.

Add new condolence

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.