Long-time resident of Bellville, Wayne Benson Alexander, 95, died on Monday, July 16, 2012. A funeral service was held on Thursday, July 19, 2012, in Bellville.
He is survived by his wife, Avis, son Wayne “Rip” Alexander and wife Gerri of Montgomery, daughter Peggy Brast and husband Dan of Houston, grandsons, Scott Brast and wife Shannon, Craig Brast and wife Amanda, Jason Alexander and wife Shawna, and three great grandchildren, Madison, Dylan, and Lyndi Brast.
Wayne was born in Harrisburg, Ill. on Dec. 10, 1916. In 1934, he moved to Bellville to live with his uncle, Pitt Sullivan, and enrolled in Bellville High School. He loved sports and quickly became a star football player and co-captain of the team. He also excelled in the pole vault, winning “all state” honors his senior year.
There was no money for him to attend college so after graduating from high school in 1936, he worked at the Ice House and the Electric Company and earned football tickets to BHS football games by replacing the globes in the lights on the football field. He also continued his interest in sports by playing in various baseball and softball leagues and playing golf and tennis.
Wayne married Avis Schneider on Nov. 24, 1937, and they started their family the following year. On Nov. 24, 2011, Wayne and Avis celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary.
He served in the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, Calif. in 1943 and 1944. After his discharge, he returned to Bellville to resume his life there. He worked for the Railroad and in the Tax Collectors office until he bought the Weige Hotel and renamed it “Hotel Wayne.” He and Avis owned and operated Hotel Wayne for 26 years. There were numerous “regular” guests since the Santa Fe Railroad chose Bellville as the “turn around” for train crews operating between Galveston and Temple. Other “regulars” were several salesmen who stayed one night each week. Every guest who celebrated a birthday on or around the date they stayed at the hotel, had their own “home-made” birthday cake baked for them and there was always free food for guests who had to be away from home on holidays. During there tenure at the hotel, the Alexander’s helped many young men passing through town in search of jobs by giving them a free room for the night and buying them a meal at a local café.
Always an avid sportsman and sports fan, Wayne was very active in local youth sports, coaching and working to get better facilities for the players. Wayne, Marvin Steck, and Charles Marik founded Little League Baseball in Bellville and Industry. He also helped build the Bellville Golf and Recreation Club where he became a member. He is a past champion of the Bellville Golf Club Championship Tournament.
The Alexanders were lifelong staunch supporters of every sport played by Bellville High School, attending games and cheering the teams on. They were also active in many community projects.
After Wayne retired, he built their home, with the help of a friend, at 1514 Hwy 159 W, where he and Avis resided until his health required that he go to Briarwood Nursing Home in 2008.
Posted by Joy Neely