Santa Rosa resident Dalton "Al" Alander, a master craftsman with a wicked sense of humor and generous nature, died at home Sept. 18 following a long illness. He was 71 years old.
Alander was born in Astoria, Ore., and grew up in Coos Bay, the son of a carpenter and grandson of a Finnish ship builder who had immigrated to America.
Carpentry "was in his family," said his daughter, Tammy Alander, of Forestville.
He moved as a teen to California, where he met his future wife, Linda Hazen. They married Nov. 29, 1960.
When he was 17 years old, Alander joined the carpenters union. He became a journeyman carpenter in 1963.
He worked for Larkin's Construction Company for more than 30 years, where he demonstrated his talents and creativity, building primarily custom homes in Marin and Sonoma counties, according to family.
Many of the homes he built were in Peacock Gap and Tiburon, his daughter said.
Alander moved his family to Petaluma in about 1966 because it was more affordable than Marin County, Tammy Alander said.
"It allowed him to buy a house," she said.
He never built a house for himself, but he dramatically changed the look of the home he bought in Petaluma, Alander said. It included a large windmill that doubled as a playhouse in the front yard.