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Published: Thursday, 2/7/2002

Ex-Tecumseh executive kept engineering outlook

TECUMSEH, Mich. - W.E. “Bill” Haselwood, former chief executive officer of Tecumseh Products Co. and owner of Central Tube Products, died of pneumonia Monday in Herrick Memorial Hospital here. He was 93.

Mr. Haselwood of Tecumseh grew up in Missouri and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois.

He worked for two years at Cutler-Hammer in Milwaukee and for several years in Elkhart, Ind., at Chicago Telephone Supply, now CTS Corp. He began working at Taylor Products, Elkhart, in 1941. He received a patent for a brazing oven during his time there.

Mr. Haselwood stayed with Taylor Products when Tecumseh Products bought the firm in 1956. He became vice president and general manager of the division four years later, and was promoted to president of Tecumseh Products in 1964.

At the time, the company was the world's largest manufacturer of refrigeration compressors. He helped the company develop technical innovations, family members said. “He always looked at things with an engineering attitude,” his son, James, said.

He retired as chief executive officer in 1972 and became owner and president of Central Tube Products, which made copper tubing for the refrigeration and automotive industries. He sold the Brooklyn, Mich., company in 1988.

He was vice chairman of the Michigan State Board of Commerce and was on the board of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. of Boston and Bank of Lenawee in Adrian.

Mr. Haselwood married Irma Bockwitz in 1930. She died in 1961. He married Ruth Willer the next year. She died in 1985. He married Lois Flory in 1986.

Surviving are his wife, Lois; sons, Donald and James; daughter, Patricia Smith; sister, Dorothy Hunt; stepsons, G.L. “Bud” Willer and Daniel Flory; stepdaughters, Janet Nissenbaum and Barbara Kraning, eight grandchildren; 11 step-grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Tecumseh United Methodist Church. The body will be in the Tecumseh Chapel of Couture-Handler Funeral Homes after 2 p.m. today. The family requests tributes to Tecumseh United Methodist Church or Herrick Memorial Hospital.

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