Thursday, April 18, 2002

Avondale restaurateur reportedly drowned

Alexander Tyler, 71, was on fishing trip

By Allen Howard,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PERRYSBURG, Ohio — The body of a man found at the southern tip of an island at Fort Meigs State Park is believed to be that of Alexander Tyler, 71, owner of Alex's Honey Home Cooking and the VIP Lounge in Avondale.

        Police said three fishermen were thrown into the Maumee River on Monday morning when their boat capsized. Two of the men were able to make it to shore, but one disappeared in the swift current.

        The U.S. Coast Guard searched for the body, but suspended the search at 6 p.m. Monday. Coast Guard officials said the body was found Tuesday morning by a fisherman.

        An autopsy was being performed Wednesday by the Lucas County coroner's office.

        Mr. Tyler became widely known for his soul food, prepared at Alex's Honey Home Cooking, a restaurant he started in 1970 at 3120 Reading Road in Avondale.

        He also established a nightclub, Alexander's, that was connected to the restaurant.

        After his retirement in the 1990s, the nightclub operated as Zell's, run by the former director of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, Arzell Nelson. It is now called the VIP Lounge.

        Mr. Tyler's death will be a big loss to his friend of 40 years William Mundon, 78, of North Avondale, who was on the fishing trip with Mr. Tyler and Ralph Foster, 77. He was able to get to the shore uninjured.

        “We have been going to the Maumee River for the last 15 years,” Mr. Mundon said.

        He said they arrived at the river on Monday.

        “We noticed that the river was up, but we had been there before when the water was high,” he said.

        They were able to get into the river with their 15-foot boat, but the current was swift, he said.

        “I was in the back of the boat, and I put the anchor down. Then we decided to put the anchor down at the other end of the boat, and that is when the trouble started.”

        He said the second anchor was caught in the swift current and began to swirl the boat around. All three men fell into the water when the boat capsized.

        “I didn't see Alex. ... This is a big loss. We have traveled all over the country together for the last 40 years,” said Mr. Mundon, a retired Cincinnati post office manager.


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